Man tabling for conservative group assaulted on UC Berkeley campus, potential suspect identified

UCPD/Courtesy

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Updated 2/22/2019: This story has been updated to reflect information from a statement released by campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof.

UCPD responded to a report Tuesday afternoon that a man tabling for a conservative organization on Upper Sproul Plaza had been assaulted, according to a Nixle alert released by UCPD on Wednesday afternoon.

The victim, who is not affiliated with the campus, said he had been tabling for the conservative group Turning Point USA on Tuesday about 3:29 p.m. when two males approached the table. The victim, identified by Turning Point USA as Hayden Williams, added that a verbal altercation ensued, and he began filming the interaction with his phone, according to the alert. The video was posted to Twitter on Thursday morning by campus junior Bradley Devlin, former president of Berkeley College Republicans.

“You are fucking encouraging violence,” said one of the two suspects in the video.

The suspect proceeded to slap the phone out of Williams’ hand and knock over the table, according to Williams. While he and the suspect struggled for the phone, the suspect punched Williams several times, causing injury to the victim’s eye and nose, the alert said.

The suspect left the scene before authorities arrived.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, said in a tweet that the incident was an instance of “abhorrent” behavior against free speech.

Devlin took to Twitter on Thursday morning to demand a public announcement from campus administration regarding the incident.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ released a statement Thursday about 1:10 p.m. to the campus community, condemning violence and harassment “of any sort.” Christ directed students, staff and faculty affected by such incidents to support resources with the associate vice chancellor and dean of students and the Tang Center’s Faculty/Staff Employee Assistance program.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said UCPD had identified a potential suspect in this incident. According to Mogulof, the suspect does not seem to be a student or affiliate of the campus.

Mogulof added that the victim had joined members of a student group as part of an “advocacy training program.”

“The fact that the victim was not a campus affiliate has no bearing on this case. He had every right to be on campus, and every right to express his point of view,” Mogulof said in the statement.

The investigation is currently still ongoing. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call 510-642-6760.

City news editor Sophia Brown-Heidenreich contributed to this report.

Amber Tang is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ambertang_dc.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the suspect had joined members of a student group as part of an advocacy training program. In fact, the victim had joined members of a student group as part of an advocacy training program.