US

Video Shows Man Punching Conservative Activist, Police Seek Suspect

By Zachary Stieber

After a viral video showing a man punching another man at the University of California, Berkeley, circulated widely, campus police said officers are seeking the suspect.

The fight took place at the university on the afternoon of Feb. 19. The victim told police that he was recruiting for Turning Point, a conservative organization, when two males approached the table.

The conservative activist began filming the encounter with his phone.

Video footage shows one of the men slapping the phone away before knocking over the table. While the victim tried to get his phone back, the assailant punched the victim several times.

Warning: Videos contains graphic violence and language.

The victim was identified as Hayden Williams by Turning Point, which is also known as TPUSA.

Charlie Kirk, the head of the organization, posted footage showing the fight and said: “While recruiting for our TPUSA group at UC Berkeley a leftist thug comes and assaults our activists [sic], punching him in the face and hitting him repeatedly.

“Imagine if the attacker was wearing MAGA hat, would be national news! This is the violent left!” he added.

Benny Johnson, chief creative officer for TPUSA, said that Williams “sustained massive injuries” and was hospitalized.

In a statement, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ and Vice Chancellor Stephen Sutton said that the footage showed “a reprehensible incident.”

“According to the police, an unknown, unidentified assailant attacked a Berkeley student engaged in political advocacy. Let there be no mistake, we strongly condemn violence and harassment of any sort, for any reason. That sort of behavior is intolerable and has no place here. Our commitment to freedom of expression and belief is unwavering,” the officials stated.

“At this point, we have no information indicating that the perpetrators are affiliated with the university, and I join our police department in urging anyone with information about the incident to come forward so we can apprehend and bring the perpetrator to justice.”

Students were told to review the university’s Principles of Community to find how they should treat their fellow students and others on campus.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who was attacked by his neighbor, said that the attack was “abhorrent behavior against free speech on campus,” adding: “No form of violence is acceptable!”

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, also shared a link to a story about the attack, drawing a contrast between the alleged hate crime hoax perpetrated by actor Jussie Smollett and the assault on the California campus.

“When a liberal like Jussie cries wolf and fakes an attack he receives unmatched coverage, sympathy, and support creating a tsunami of attention. When a conservative student literally gets punched in the face and it’s caught on video it barely makes a ripple,” he said.

Williams, the victim, was seen in a picture shared by his friend with his left eye severely swelled. “My friend, Hayden, wants to thank all of you for the love and support. He’s giving you a wink, and wanted to let you know you’ll be hearing from him soon!” Williams’ friend Brad Devlin wrote.

Williams told Campus Reform, a news organization run by TPUSA that reports on colleges, that the two men who approached him claimed that he was “encouraging violence” by recruiting for the group.

“Some students nearby tabling were laughing, even one guy was smiling while I was being attacked and trying to hand me his flyer as a joke,” he said. “The idea is free speech has consequences…. which include you getting assaulted if they find you promoting ideas others don’t agree with.”

Williams told Fox News that he is not a member of TPUSA but he supports the organization. “This person claimed we were promoting violence on campus and proceeded to take his aggression out on us,” Williams added.

Campus police said in an alert that anyone with information should call 510-642-6760.