New video footage released by the Berkeley Police Department on Thursday shows groups of masked protesters dressed in black smashing the windows of city vehicles and bashing the window of a Marine Corps recruitment center. The video also shows a fire inside one of the city vehicles after the protesters have left.
What happened at the rally?
On Sunday, the “alt-right” group, Proud Boys, held a small rally in notoriously liberal Berkeley, California. They were quickly met with a much larger counterprotest, organized by the group Berkeley Antifa.
By the end of the day, 20 people were arrested on charges, including vandalism, battery, and suspicion of possessing a banned weapon.
The Berkeley Police Department told TheBlaze that they were not at liberty to say whether the suspects arrested were members of the original protest or the counterprotesters.
However, The National Lawyer’s Guild, a progressive legal group representing arrested Antifa members, accused the police of singling out Antifa protesters.
“It really seemed to us like the Berkeley Police Department was there to … target the anti-fascist protesters,” Jay Kim, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild’s local chapter, told The Guardian.
Kim said that the “vast majority” of those arrested were anti-fascists. TheBlaze reached out to Kim to find out if any of the protesters were not supporters of Antifa, but she has not yet responded. In addition to Kim, The Guardian referred to unnamed “activists” who also thought that Antifa members were targeted at the protest.
Antifa supporters criticized the Berkeley Police Department for posting mugshots of some of the suspects on social media. They claimed that by doing so the police were endangering the suspects and assisting “alt-right” groups. While the mugshots are still readily available on the web, they appear to have since been removed from the police department’s Twitter account, although the suspects’ names remain.
What about the videos?
One video released by police shows protesters smashing cars. However, a masked individual quickly approached the person with the camera and held a piece of cardboard in front of the lens.
“You guys got masks on,” the unidentified cameraman protested.
“Don’t film it!” a voice yelled from offscreen. At that point, the footage cut off, then restarted to show a line of smashed city vehicles, one of which was on fire.
The Berkeley Police Department said in a report from the incident:
An extremist element amongst a large group marched westbound by the Berkeley Way parking lot, smashing 21 city vehicles and slashing City vehicle tires, and setting one City vehicle on fire. Three minor dumpster fires were extinguished.
A second video released by the police was published on Sunday by independent filmmaker Ford Fischer. The video shows masked vandals smashing the window of a Marine Corps recruiting center with hammers.
In the video, voices can be heard telling Fischer as he films “Get the f*** back. Cops aren’t here. They won’t help you.”
Fischer identified the speakers as being Antifa members.
In a Fox News interview, Fischer said that the actual protests had “very little violence” on either side, “it was a lot of people yelling at each other and arguing. Most of the violence and property destruction was this sea of Antifa-type individuals, who were participating kind of on the outskirts.”