Hayden Williams, a conservative activist, has been shown in video footage being physically assaulted on the UC Berkeley Campus. Williams was sent to the campus by Turning Point USA to help recruit potential conservative leaders. Campus police were called to Sproul Plaza after being informed of a disturbance, where they found Williams injured. However, the alleged suspect was no where to be found. Law enforcement is investigating the situation and has identified a suspect, but has not released his name, according to CNN News.
Williams is seen in video footage wearing a Turning Point USA T-shirt. The remains of his informative display are strewn across the ground in shambles. Police say that two men approached Williams and they engaged in a verbal altercation. The victim attempted to record the exchange on his phone, but one of the men “slapped the phone out of the victim’s hand.” He then allegedly flipped over the table Williams had been using and punched him in the face several times. Video evidence depicts the suspect grabbing Williams by his jacket and striking him repeatedly, knocking his hat off. The suspect is heard yelling profanities and slurs and calls Williams a “racist.”
A conservative student on UC Berkeley's campus was punched in the face on Tuesday. The victim was advertising for the conservative group Turning Point USA on Cal's Sproul Plaza, at the time of the assault. https://t.co/URRTHOUCiM
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) February 22, 2019
Williams told Fox News host Sean Hannity that the men became angry with him because of a sign that was a part of his display. The sign read, “Hate Crime Hoaxes Hurt Real Victims.” It was said to be a reference to Empire actor Jussie Smollett, who is accused of staging his own hate crime.
“This person claimed we were promoting violence on campus and proceeded to take his aggression out on us,” Williams told Hannity.
At this time, Smollett continues to proclaim his evidence and insists that he was the victim in the situation. On Thursday, he was formally charged with a felony for filing a false police report.
This student was assaulted @UCBerkeley for expressing his political views.#Berkeley admin have formally condemned the assault and #BerkeleyPolice have been alerted. #BerkeleyAssault pic.twitter.com/231wj0ceXV
— Gary Faust (@GaryFaust11) February 22, 2019
Arda Erbil was present on the plaza at the time of the attack and decided to record the altercation for evidence.
“Seeing something like that happen in such an open place was disheartening,” he said.
UC Berkeley released a public statement on Thursday regarding the attack. They called the assault “reprehensible” and condemned such acts of violence. The campus is intended to be a place where all can express their views without fear of this form of retaliation.
“That sort of behavior is intolerable and has no place here. Our commitment to freedom of expression and belief is unwavering.”