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Democratic lawmaker: Berkeley riots were 'a beautiful sight

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A Democratic congresswoman called the violent riots at the University of California-Berkeley a "beautiful sight."

Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) made the comment Thursday during a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing focused on improving security at the Office of Personnel Management, as well as the National Background Investigations Bureau, according to an email from the House of Representatives Press Gallery.

During the hearing, Demings discussed President Donald Trump's threat to withhold federal funding from "sanctuary cities" and the perceived effect that could have on local law enforcement. Five days after taking office, Trump issued an executive order declaring that sanctuary cities violate federal law. Trump further said that if cities continue to harbor illegal immigrants, then at least some of their federal funding would be cut off.

"We have seen demonstrations ... around the country. Young people at Berkeley protesting against this unconstitutional order," Demings said, though the Berkeley rioters were not specifically protesting Trump's sanctuary city policies.

The protests were in reaction to a planned speaking engagement by alt-Right activist Milo Yiannopoulos.

Demings tried to make the point that the federal government's withholding of funds for local governments would only make things worse for law enforcement in those areas. Republicans, by and large, have argued that local law enforcement officers should act as a liaison to federal immigration officials, while most Democrats argue that enforcing federal immigration laws should only be responsible for enforcing local and state laws.

"But what concerns me,"Demings added, "is ... the strain that has been placed on local government, particularly law enforcement, local law enforcement, dealing with an order that is unjust and improper."

"And so as we encourage our young people to get involved, I thought it was a beautiful sight," Demings said, again referring to the Berkeley riots, even though the demonstrations were not the result of Trump's sanctuary city order.

"What also, as we encourage people to get involved, what directions and instructions and how can we have a more organized effort so that they can be a major tool in moving our agenda forward," Demings added.

As TheBlaze previously reported, around “150 masked agitators" threw fireworks, rocks and Molotov cocktails on the California public university campus ahead of a planned appearance by Yiannopoulos. Rioters also smashed windows of the student union center, where Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak on the issue of free speech.

The university ultimately canceled Yiannopoulos' engagement over public safety concerns.

UC-Berkeley condemned the violent acts in statement, saying "those tactics now overshadow the efforts of the majority to engage in legitimate and lawful protest against the performer’s presence at Berkeley and his perspectives."

(H/T: Washington Free Beacon)

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