A conservative activist and member of Turning Point USA was punched in the face during an assault caught on video at the University of California Berkeley. The activist was protesting with other members of the right-wing group when they were confronted by an unidentified man. During the altercation, the man attacked the UC Berkeley student, striking him multiple times, videos show.
The activist, Haydon Williams, suffered an eye injury during the incident, according to a photo posted to social media by his friends on Thursday. The UC Berkeley police investigated and asked for the public’s help in identifying the suspect in the assault. The incident occurred on the afternoon of February 29. The suspect was arrested in early March and identified as 28-year-old Zachary Greenberg, a former Berkeley employee.
Greenberg was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and attempting to cause great bodily injury. You can read more about him here.
Williams and other members of TPUSA were “tabling” in the Upper Sproul Plaza when the incident occurred. They were passing out pamphlets and information about their group in hopes of recruiting new members. They were also holding signs related to the Jussie Smollett controversy. One of the signs shown in social media postings included the phrase, “This is MAGA country,” which Smollett, a gay black actor who stars on the Fox TV show “Empire,” claimed his attackers said to him during an alleged hate crime in Chicago.
Police have since arrested Smollett on a felony charge accusing him of falsifying a police report and say evidence showed the actor fabricated the attack as a “publicity stunt” because he wanted to make more money. Another sign held up by the activists during the TPUSA event said, “hate crime hoaxes hurt real victims.”
The altercation was recorded at two different angles. The first angle shows the incident from a bystander’s perspective. You can watch that video below:
The video shows Williams holding his cell phone camera in the face of the man now identified by police as Zachary Greenberg. The man can be heard telling Williams to “get the f*ck out of my face,” as he pushes the camera and Williams’ arms away. He then pulls a sweatshirt or jacket off of Williams, whipping him around as he does. The man then gets back into Williams’ face, cursing at him and calling him a racist and inbred, before suddenly sucker-punching him in the cheek. Williams staggers back and the man walks away, cursing at him again.
A second video showed the incident from Williams’ perspective. You can watch that video below:
That video starts with another man, who is not the suspect in the assault, talking to Williams and asking what he is doing. That man tells Williams, “you are f*cking encouraging violence.” That video shows Williams being struck multiple times by the suspect, who says he doesn’t have permission to film him. The unidentified suspect also tells Williams “you want to hit me? I’ll shoot your ass.”
Williams told the website Campus Reform, “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. The idea is free speech has consequences…. which include you getting assaulted if they find you promoting ideas others don’t agree with.”
The University of California Police Say They Were Called to a Report of Men Fighting
The University of California Police Department issued a statement on February 20 saying, “On February 19th, 2019 at 3:29pm UCPD received a report of a disturbance on Upper Sproul Plaza. A witness (UC student) reported to UCPD Officers that two males had just been fighting.”
Police added, “UCPD Officers found an injured male on the Plaza who reported he had been assaulted. The victim reported he had been ‘tabling’ for the group Turning Point when two males approached the table. When a verbal altercation started, the victim began filming the interaction with his phone.”
According to UC Berkeley police, “A physical confrontation ensued when one of the two men slapped the phone out of the victim’s hand. The suspect then knocked over the table the victim was at and the two men struggled over the phone. During the incident, the suspect punched the victim several times causing injury to the victim’s eye and nose.”
Police said they are asking the public to help identify the suspect. “The suspect left the area before police arrived. UCPD is investigating this case and asks that anyone who has information about this matter or the pictured suspect to call 510-642-6760,” police said in the alert.
Guillermina Castro, a UC Berkeley freshman who told Fox News she is among students trying to start a TPUSA chapter at the school, said she was not at the table when the incident occurred. When she came back, “I saw our sign ripped up, all our papers were on the floor, Hayden was covering his [injured] eye. I said ‘Oh my God, what happened?’ He said that a guy had just punched him in the face.”
Another student, who filmed the altercation, Alex Szarka, told Fox News, “I was walking by when I saw it, it escalated so quickly. The Turning Point USA table had signs that on a campus like Berkeley, would be seen as provocative. I was surprised to see [the reaction] be this bad. I would like to see the guy get arrested, and expelled immediately. In any other situation, without the politics, this would absolutely be a very well-publicized thing. I was in disbelief.”
UC Berkeley Issued a Statement Condemning Violence
UC Berkeley issued a statement on February 21 condemning violence.
“Yesterday, UCPD sent out a notice and request for information related to a reprehensible incident that occurred on Sproul Plaza earlier this week. 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,” Chancellor Carol Christ and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Stephen Sutton said in a joint statement.
The university officials added, “That sort of behavior is intolerable and has no place here. Our commitment to freedom of expression and belief is unwavering. 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.”
Brad Devlin, the former president of the Berkeley College Republicans, said he is a friend of Williams. He tweeted a photo of Williams’ injured eye along with the message, “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!”
Devlin added, “Another conservative student was assaulted on @UCBerkeley’s campus. I just spoke to the survivor of the attack who is a dear friend of mine. He is in good spirits and plans on continuing to fight for conservative values on campus once his black eye is gone! What a bad a**!”
Devilin said about the video, “Here is the altercation from my friends perspective. Conservative activists, take note. This is exactly the right thing to do, and I am so proud of him for recognizing the situation and not retaliating with violence.”
He added, “I am calling on the campus administration, as well as all faculty members and administrators committed to ensuring students’ physical safety to further condemn these violent acts in letters and announcements to the entire Berkeley community. Furthermore, I urge the administration to take measures to ensure the perpetrator to face severe repercussions and even consider terminating this person’s enrollment at the University of California, Berkeley.”
Charlie Kirk, the executive director and founder of TPUSA, told Fox News, “College campuses have become increasingly unsafe for conservatives. Our amazing Turning Point USA team was talking and then confronted by the hateful left which resulted in the assault and punching in the face just because of a difference of opinion. If the attacker was wearing a MAGA hat, this would be classified as a hate crime and all over every news channel.”