BERKELEY (CBS SF) – The mayor of Berkeley is standing by the tactics of his police officers after the past weekend’s brawl-filled pro-Trump march.

Supporters of President Trump gathered Saturday afternoon for the March 4 Trump rally in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Park and clashed with counter-protesters.

Police standing nearby did not do much to stop the violence, though 10 people were arrested and seven people were treated for injuries.

KPIX learned the restrained approach was fallout from a past protest.

Pro and anti-Trump demonstrators were caught on camera throwing punches Saturday, but it was the image of Berkeley police officers standing on the sidelines doing nothing that had people asking just how “free” free speech is in Berkeley.

“It was a crying shame that these people were allowed to have at it with each other like that,” said Phoebe Sorgen.

Sorgen is a former Berkeley Peace and Justice Commissioner. She witnessed the whole melee and spoke with police on the scene.

“They said there weren’t enough of them, but come on,” said Sorgen. “The police had riot gear, they had boots, they had helmets, they had billy clubs.”

But police spokesman Matthai Chakko said it wasn’t that clear cut.

“We had some people who came out for injuries. We treated them for injuries and they went back in,” said Chakko.

Its not the first time police tactics have come in question recently. Last month, UC Berkeley exploded in a violent protest over the scheduled appearance by right wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos as university police stood back.

On the other hand, Berkeley city police were criticized for supposedly overreacting when black lives matter protests turned violent in 2014.

This time, Berkeley’s Mayor Jesse Arreguin said at least no one on the sidelines was hurt.

“I think our police did a very good job under difficult circumstances,” said Arreguin.

City Councilman Kriss Worthington was more critical of the protesters who were intent to cause trouble.

“This crowd was intent on committing violence,” said Worthington. “The anarchists, extremists think that we have a lot of liberal activists that they can hide behind.”

When it was pointed out that the more extreme protesters didn’t appear to be hiding, Worthington replied, “We don’t want to have another reaction like we did with Black Lives Matter where the media, the ministers  the students were getting hit by the police.”

Comments (7)
  1. Is this really what you want Democrats? Anti Fa and The Black Block attacking people with bricks, pipes clubs?

    1. That would be the out of town fascists who were “attacking people with bricks, pipes, clubs”, and professional infiltraitors pretending to be blac bloc. The brave medics helping anyone who is injured are blac bloc, always. Left wingers stand up to fascism and defend people from violence. Some confused individual left-wingers may instigate violence, but it usually comes from the far right and/or from provocateurs on both sides.

  2. Bobby Ingram says:

    Very typically the media takes the aloof stance, “Not much to see here.”
    While folks wearing black mask attacked (Davis err, Sacramento err,)
    Berkeley citizens and the Police did nothing while the lefts goon squads squashed free speech.
    We all know that sooner or later the citizens will protect themselves and then the News media will blame Milo , or Trump, or Armed Veterans forgetting the months voting citizens attempted peaceful protest and armed ‘goons with black mask| were allowed to riot and terrorize local citizens .

  3. If our stupid cops got involved they’d have ended up killing someone.

  4. The Berkeley mayor is a total failure. The Berkeley police did nothing to keep the peace. Negligent police, hopless mayor are clueless.

  5. What is far too often not mentioned is that white supremacists/neo-fascists from out of town (even out of state) arrived wearing body armor, and they brought weapons and used them. Don’t fall for the media spin of blaming the Left. Most attendees, whether right or left wing, were non-violent. Violence came from a minority on both sides. Probably many of the violent men on both sides were trained infiltraitors hired to suppress the desire, and ultimately the right, to protest. Jesse Arreguin is a fabulous mayor. We’re lucky to have him at the helm. The police did better at the last protest, confiscating weapons at the onset.

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