A federal judge on Friday dismissed claims brought against the University of California and the city of Berkeley by a woman who sued over the violent protests that caused the last minute cancellation of a campus event featuring conservative media personality Milo Yiannopoulos.
Ruling from San Francisco federal court, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken dismissed all claims brought against the UC Berkeley, the city and college officials by Kiara Robles, an Oakland woman who sued for supposed constitutional violations after being allegedly assaulted by protesters while attempting to attend last year’s event.
“Robles does not allege any facts showing that Berkeley took any affirmative acts to burden or infringe upon Robles’ First Amendment rights,” she wrote in a 23-page ruling. “The First Amendment does not require Berkeley to protect Robles against the actions of others.”
Reacting to the decision, Ms. Robles raised questions about the credentials of the Clinton-appointed judge who ruled against her.
“Judges are usually very good at justice,” Ms. Robles told The Washington Times via Twitter. “I don’t have an ivy league training in the judicial system or common law. Still, I think we all understand that a justice system that appoints a UC Berkeley alumni to a case claiming free speech violations at UC Berkeley isn’t perfect.”
A blockchain enthusiast, blogger and supporter of President Trump with nearly 15,000 Twitter followers, Ms. Robles accused defendants of “willfully withholding” police protection from people who intended to attend Mr. Yiannopoulos’ scheduled appearance at UC Berkeley on Feb. 1, 2017.
The event was ultimately canceled at the eleventh hour as protests on campus intensified, and Ms. Robles was pepper-sprayed while being interviewed by a television station shortly afterwards.
Filing suit on her behalf last June, attorneys for Ms. Robles claimed “nearly 100 campus police and SWAT members waited in the Student Union building, within eyesight of the violence happening outside, watching as protesters became more belligerent and dangerous.”
Defendants, “acting in furtherance of their own political and other beliefs, intentionally withheld the police support of UCPD and BPD … from pro-President Trump/pro-Milo Yiannopoulos attendees at an event which it knew could likely become hostile and violent, because these … attendees represented political beliefs that went against their own radical, leftist belief,” her attorneys unsuccessfully argued.
Representatives for neither UC Berkeley nor the city immediately returned emails seeking comment Friday, according to Courthouse News Service, where the ruling was first reported.
Defending itself against the allegations previously, UC Berkeley said police responded to the event “in a manner designed to minimize injuries to innocent members of the surrounding crowd, defend the building from incursion by massed attackers and protect and safely remove the speaker.
“We are confident that UCPD’s actions will be vindicated against the plaintiff’s uninformed allegations,” UC Berkeley said previously.
• Andrew Blake can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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