The rioters who tore up the University of California, Berkeley campus last week may now have to face federal questioning.
Law enforcement in the city of Berkeley announced on Wednesday that they had requested the help of the FBI in handling an investigation into who was involved in violent protests at the school stemming from a scheduled appearance by conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.
Yiannopolous was a guest of UC Berkeley’s College Republicans, who say the protesters put their venue under siege, using military-style battering rams to break down doors and hurling bricks, rocks and fireworks at the windows as Milo prepared to take the stage.
They also rampaged through downtown Berkeley overnight, smashing a Starbucks and a bank, and causing around half-a-million dollars in damage.
The protesters’ identities are still unclear, and according to local media, law enforcement wants the FBI to be part of the process because the 100 to 150 black-clad rioters were an outside force that “invaded” the school.
They came in a military fashion, they were well-rehearsed,” said UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof. “They seemed armed and dangerous.” He went on to note that protesters were all uniformly dressed and armed with the same “night stick”—style blunt weapons.
In follow-up op-eds for the student paper, The Daily Cal, some authors implied that UC Berkeley teachers, students and even administrators could have been part of the black-clad horde. UC Berkeley professor and progressive pundit Robert Reich theorized that the rioters were really organized and directed by Donald Trump‘s team.
The FBI says that it cannot confirm nor deny that they are part of an ongoing investigation into the matter, but did tell Berkeleyside that they “do not open investigations based on First Amendment activities.”
That should be comforting to those who might assume this was the beginning of a Trump administration attempt to crack down on organized opposition. Maybe.