Berkeley police refute online rumors of stabbing at Ben Shapiro protest

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Despite rumors circulating that a stabbing occurred during the protests outside conservative commentator Ben Shapiro’s speech at Zellerbach Hall on Thursday, the Berkeley Police Department said in a tweet Friday that such “online accounts” are false.

Internet speculation was largely propelled by right-wing activist Kyle Chapman, also known as “Based Stickman,” who said in a Facebook post that a Ben Shapiro supporter “was holding a sign … when she was yanked down from a light post then beaten and stabbed by left wing terrorist.”

The alleged victim has been identified as Celeste Paradise, who BPD said “fell and wasn’t pushed” in a follow-up tweet.

“This is what she told us at the scene,” BPD said in the tweet. “These are the actual facts.”

Although Paradise has reported in interviews that she was attacked by Antifa members, she hasn’t publicly stated that she was stabbed.

Henry Gunn, another witness at the scene of the protests, also didn’t confirm the alleged stabbing, but insisted on Twitter that Paradise didn’t fall and was “attacked.” Gunn appeared to be live-tweeting and taking pictures during the protests Thursday.

According to BPD spokesperson Sgt. Andrew Frankel, Paradise “isn’t claiming that she was stabbed,” and that, despite the “conflicting reports” spreading on social media and blogs, there is no definite timeline of the events that occurred in conjunction with the alleged attack that evening.

Frankel did clarify that the situation required a “medical call only.” Frankel also said that BPD officers will get in touch with Paradise soon to clear up the details of the incident.

Contact Naira Khalid at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @nairakhalid.