UC Police report multiple arrests related to Ann Coulter appearance on campus

Hundreds of protesters demonstrated outside Wheeler Hall on the Cal campus on Nov. 20 where Ann  Coulter gave a talk. Photo: Ted Friedman

Update, Thursday, 3:55 p.m. Three students and two other people were arrested during the Ann Coulter event and related protests Wednesday night, according to new information from UC Berkeley released Thursday afternoon.

The campus said all five of those individuals were arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor violations, including resisting arrest or obstructing police, and wearing a mask or disguise. Most were cited and released during the event. Those who were taken to jail are no longer in custody.

One woman, identified by Cal as a non-student, was arrested on suspicion of battery on a police officer and trespassing or refusing to leave. Campus representatives have said that incident occurred inside the venue where Coulter was speaking.

Update, 11:30 p.m. At a press conference after the Ann Coulter event had wound up, UC Berkeley and UCPD spokespeople said “six or seven” people were arrested and one was injured during the night on campus. The “affiliations” of the people who were detained are unknown at this point, UCPD said, but all will be cited then released, except for one person UCPD said “fought police” inside the venue.


UCPD Chief Margo Bennett said the injured person had a ticket to the event and “was victimized in the crowd” and transported to the hospital.

Officers policing the event were drawn from eight UC campuses, California Highway Patrol and the Berkeley Police Department, according to UC Berkeley. There were no estimates available Wednesday of the cost to the campus of providing that security, though it could be “substantial,” UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said. He credited “extraordinary” work by the police with preventing more injuries.

However, Bennett said she was “sympathetic” to students concerned about the heavy presence of police in riot gear around Wheeler.

“I totally understand that,” she said. “We did messaging to impacted groups that felt the presence of police caused them anxiety.” Mogulof echoed Bennett. The concerns were “understandable on a lot of different levels,” he said. “We have work to do to continue to find ways we can accommodate profound differences of opinion. We believe we have met our obligations to both free speech and the rule of law, and to provide for the safety and well-being of students and campus guests,” he said. “Having said that, I understand that students are deeply disturbed and unsettled by someone whose views they deeply disagree with.” He said counseling and other services are always available to students.

Even though protesters tried to block people from entering Wheeler Hall where the talk took place, there were roughly 350-400 people inside during Coulter’s talk, by UCPD’s head count. There were around 300 tickets were sold, plus other reservations.

Mogulof and Bennett said they were unaware of any property damage resulting from the demonstrations.

Original story: UC Berkeley police report that they have made arrests on the Cal campus Wednesday night relating to a talk by right-wing pundit Ann Coulter.

In a tweet posted at 8:21 p.m. UCPD said “multiple masked protesters” were arrested.

Coulter, who was slated to begin her talk at 9 p.m., was invited to the campus by the Berkeley College Republicans for a talk called “Adios, America!”

Our reporter Natalie Orenstein, who is at the scene, reported, around 9:15 p.m. that there were “hundreds” of protesters demonstrating and chanting slogans such as “Families Belong Together,” as well as anti-police sentiment outside Wheeler Hall.

Barricades were erected in front of Wheeler Hall, police were in attendance and messages are being projected onto the façade of Wheeler Hall. The Refuse Fascism group had called for students to come out at 7 p.m. to protest Coulter. Around 10 p.m. the group tweeted that a student with the organization had been arrested.

“We’re here to show our support for DACA and also to protest white supremacy,” Hamid Hakimi, a junior at Cal, told Berkeleyside. He and a friend, who arrived at the demonstration around 7 p.m., were part of a “human chain” of protesters who were trying to block people from entering the hall to hear Coulter.

Jack, a freshman at Cal who didn’t want to give their last name, said they were protesting because they “don’t like fascists.” Coulter’s “views are not something we should give a platform to,” they said. “That was true in 2017 and that’s still the case. It’s even more appalling because today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. I’m here to represent my community as a queer and trans student. It’s appalling that the administration would even consider having someone with extremely hateful rhetoric.”

Jack, a UC Berkeley freshman, said they were protesting on the campus Nov. 20 because Ann Coulter’s views “are not something we should give a platform to.” Photo: Natalie Orenstein

The Coulter talk was wrapping up shortly after 10 p.m., according to UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof.

This is not the first time Coulter has caused a commotion in Berkeley. In April 2017, Coulter cancelled a scheduled talk, also hosted by the Berkeley College Republicans, saying she did not feel her safety would be guaranteed. The cost of providing police to ensure violence did not break out at a rally to protest the cancellation of her speech amounted to $500,000, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

After the Coulter talk ended, attendees stood inside barricades with the police as protesters shouted, “Shame on you!. Photo: Natalie Orenstein

This developing story was updated regularly.