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Berkeley Cops Fail Again, But Ben Shapiro's Speech Gives Them a Chance to Redeem Themselves

No one can claim it wasn’t expected. In Berkeley, Calif., police have once again failed in their duty to protect innocent people against assault from thugs masquerading as freedom fighters.

It is by now a familiar story, with the theme repeated from coast to coast as so-called antifa protesters take it upon themselves to decide who should and should not be allowed to express themselves in public places, and police fail to deter or confront them. Recall that back in February this same crowd, practicing the same tactics, forced the cancellation of Milo Yiannopoulos’ scheduled speech on the U.C. Berkeley campus.

As discussed here on PJ Media at the time, campus police officers allowed the rioters to attack people and damage property, forcing Yiannopoulos to flee the campus. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the campus police chief, Margo Bennett, justified her failure in this most elemental of police functions by claiming that “restraint” was called for.

After such an embarrassment, one might assume other police leaders in the area would take steps to avoid being similarly humiliated. Alas, at least in Berkeley, police chiefs seem incapable of embarrassment.

How else to explain the reaction of Berkeley P.D. Chief Andrew Greenwood, who, after removing his officers from a public park on Sunday and allowing antifa goons to attack peaceful demonstrators, explained the decision this way: “No need for a confrontation over a grass patch.”

This may be true in some cases, but it invites a question that should be obvious to anyone in law enforcement: Who is standing on that grass patch? In Berkeley on Sunday, a “No Marxism in America” rally was to be held in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, but organizers canceled the event out of fear of violence. Despite the cancellation, supporters of President Trump gathered in the park and were met by a large group of counter-demonstrators, including about 100 black-clad antifa thugs.

This was the cast assembled on the “grass patch” Chief Greenwood chose to abandon, and the results were every bit as predictable as the chief’s post hoc justification for his failure. Echoing his counterpart at U.C. Berkeley, Greenwood said he made a strategic decision to avoid a confrontation he believed would lead to more violence between police and protesters. He was apparently unconcerned about the prospect – no, the certainty – of a confrontation between peaceful demonstrators and people who make no secret about their violent intentions.

This is the shameful state of too many American police departments, where chiefs and their political patrons place a higher value on “restraint” than on upholding the law and protecting innocent people trying to exercise their rights. There wasn’t the slightest bit of mystery about what would happen in that Berkeley park on Sunday, certainly not after the antifa group arrived.