Berkeley Police have identified six people involved in fights between protesters and counter-protesters in Berkeley on March 4, and are asking the community for help identifying them.
The Saturday demonstration in Civic Center Park saw Trump supporters face off against counter-protesters led by the By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) activist group. Scuffles and fights broke out and there were several injuries. Police have made a total of 10 arrests so far — all made on Saturday, of both protesters and counter-protesters — three of which, for assault, were on felony charges.
Although most of the protesters acted peacefully, a number came armed with sticks, bats, shields, smoke canisters and other weapons, and, according to BPD, they “repeatedly inserted themselves into confrontations with those with opposing views.” The March 8 Nixle alert continues: “Fights typically lasted a few seconds and took place in the middle of the crowd, which included a number of observers, peaceful protesters and news media.”
The police confiscated numerous weapons and items, including metal pipes, bats, “2 x 4s,”pieces of wood and bricks.
In a March 6 report to the City Manager, Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood defended the department’s “stand back and observe first” strategy for Saturday’s protest, informed both by recent protests against far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos as well as the Black Lives Matter protests of 2014. “A fight within a volatile crowd is not a simple matter in which to intervene …,” he wrote. “… Intervention requires a major commitment of resources, a significant use of force, and carries with it the strong likelihood of harming those who are not committing a crime. Finally, intervention risks escalating an event into a full riot.”
BPD said the ability of individuals to express their first-amendment rights was hindered by the acts of violence Saturday and that the release of the photos Wednesday was part of the department’s strategy to bring all perpetrators into custody.
Police ask that if you have any tips related to these investigations, email Sergeant Friedman at email@example.com or call 510-981-5990 Ext. 4202, or use any device to upload photos and videos.