A talk at the University of California at Berkeley by Milo Yiannopoulos, a polarizing Breitbart News editor, was canceled Wednesday out of safety concerns after protesters hurled smoke bombs, broke windows and started a bonfire. In the wake of destruction City of Berkeley Mayor stopped by KTVU the 9.
KTVU's Mike Mibach asked Mayor Jesse Arreguin if he thought the city could have done more to prevent destruction that night. Mayor Arreguin replied, "Well the decision about how to deploy our police is a decision of the Chief of Police. I do think our police did an incredible job under very difficult circumstances to minimize harm to people in the crowd."
When asked about the $100,000 in damages and destruction Arreguin replied "The destruction of property is completely unacceptable. I am happy more people weren't hurt. And things could have escalated to a level as we've seen in Berkeley and in Oakland where more people could have been hurt more property could have been damaged and it's a tough decision that police have to make but I think they made the right decision to really minimize things really escalating and becoming even more dangerous."
In regards to people coming into protests wearing masks Arreguin said people take advantage of the large protests to commit acts of destruction and violence. He said police will be reviewing security footage.
Arreguin defended the lack of arrests in the protests by saying much of the destruction occurred on the Berkeley campus. "I want to remind people we as a city do not make a decision about inviting a speaker. We do not make a decision to cancel a speaker. This was a decision of the university."
Mayor Arreguin says the way police have responded to large protests has changed over the years.
He says he believes police responded to assaults that were occurring. "What happened on Wednesday - the destruction of property - is completely unacceptable. That does not reflect Berkeley."
Mayor Arreguin says he was very alarmed by the riots and he knew that Yiannopoulos speaking at the university may incite a large crowd. Arreguin previously called Yiannopoulos a white nationalist and later apologized. He tells KTVU, "I do think he's a white nationalist, but I think we probably shouldn't be using labels. But I think he announced he's funding a scholarship for white men, and has said a lot of hateful things about women, about minorities about Muslims. I think his speech is frankly hate speech personally. But he does have a constitutional right to be heard. It's not the views I believe in."
He adds he would not open the doors to Yiannopoulos again because of the violent response. "Going forward we need to balance the right to free speech with the need to preserve public safety." he says that will be a discussion with the city going forward.