BERKELEY, Calif. – Police arrested a University of California-Berkeley student for trashing Trump signs put up on campus by the Berkeley College Republicans.
University police did not name the student, but told SFGate.com that he was charged with misdemeanor vandalism on Wednesday and later released.
According to the site:
Naweed Tahmas, a 20-year-old UC Berkeley student and member of the Berkeley College Republicans, said he contacted police when two men started kicking the Trump sign and attempted to ram into him with their bike when he tried to snap a photo of them.
University police spokeswoman Sabrina Reich said the incident was one of several vandalism complaints by conservatives on campus, and police continue to search for other suspects.
Berkeley College Republicans posted a video to Facebook of a student kicking apart a wooden sign in a different incident in front of Sproul Hall around 5 p.m. Tuesday. The student spent more than three minutes destroying the sign on a public sidewalk and attempting to stuff it in recycle bins as Tom Johnston, a 19-year-old member of the Berkeley College Republicans, recorded the stunt.
That video has been viewed well over 1 million times this week.
Tahmas told SFGate the vandalism incidents – and daily barrage of hate directed at conservatives on campus – has only emboldened Berkeley College Republicans to increase their outreach.
“It’s just more motivation to keep going out there and working hard and being out there for the community. And encourage open discussion and open dialogue,” he said.
University associate chancellor Nils Gilman issued a school-wide statement condemning the recent vandalism incidents, which came after a massive violent riot on campus Feb. 1 that successfully blocked conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking to students.
“Let there be no mistake: The campus administration condemns all acts of vandalism and attempted intimidation,” Gilman’s statement read, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “The University is unswervingly committed to supporting and defending all our students’ First Amendment rights, and their ability to freely engage in political activities across the ideological spectrum.”
Tahmas believes UC-Berkeley is all talk and no action when it comes to protecting conservative students’ free speech rights.
“This happens every week. They release a statement to make it seem like they’re doing something,” he said. “But other than that, are they really doing anything? I do believe actions speak louder than words.”
The alleged vandal who was arrested Wednesday also seems to think the college’s supposed crackdown is a joke.
According to SF Gate, the student posted to Facebook:
“UCPD used an hour of their resources to detain me for an hour over a Trump placard,” he wrote. “I almost became a hashtag because UC Berkeley protects racist organizations.”
UC-Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulf, meanwhile, told the Chronicle that students destroying private signs won’t be tolerated, and confirmed officials are actively investigating the incidents.
He said those involved will face “serious consequences.”