BERKELEY, Calif. (KTVU) - A UC Berkeley student was attacked on campus Thursday, less than 24 hours after violent protests broke out on campus.
The student, Jack Palkovic, is a member of the Berkeley College Republicans. He said he was with fellow students talking to media outlets at the foot of Sproul Plaza when two men attacked him.
“They weren’t students,” Palkovic said. “They were random people who were driving in car.”
Palkovic said the men stopped their car at the intersection of Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft, got out of the car, and attacked him for wearing a “make America great again” hat. Palkovic was punched on his forehead.
“One of them tried taking my hat,” he said. “The other one tried to push me away. I followed them and grabbed one by the jacket. One of them tried pushing me down and it became a fight.”
Jose Diaz, President of the Berkeley College Republicans, came to Palkovic’s aid and broke up the fight.
“They yelled out all sorts of racist epithets at us,” Diaz said. One of them called me, personally, a racist cracker and said if he spotted me… that he would essentially attack me.”
UC Berkeley Police arrested Sean Suess, a 27-year-old man from San Francisco and Devonte Gaskin, a 28-year-old from Oakland. Both men are being held at the city jail and officials said the men are not affiliated with the campus. They are facing battery charges.
“The vitriol reaction we’re seeing from the very left, progressive left, not everyone, but some, it’s worrisome,” Diaz added.
“I think it’s unfortunate in a civilized society you can’t wear a hat,” Palkovic said. “I'm still going to wear the hat, especially after what happened last night.”