Pro-American Demonstrators Assaulted in Berkeley As Police Merely Watch

Berkeley police, who routinely protect left-wing anti-war protesters, apparently won’t provide the same protection for demonstrators who support our troops. Anti-war demonstrators are attacking pro-troops demonstrators right in front of the police. (The Berkeley City Council has declared military recruiters to be “unwelcome intruders.”) That violates the First Amendment.

While a city has no constitutional obligation to provide police protection to the general public, if it does provide it to some groups, but then denies it selectively to a disfavored political group, that is a First Amendment violation. For example, in Dwares v. City of New York, 985 F.2d 94 (2d Cir. 1993) , a court allowed police to be sued for violating the First Amendment for allowing flag-burners to be assaulted, since the flag-burners alleged that those who assaulted them were assured by police that they would not be arrested unless they got “totally out of control,” and the assaults occurred right nearby the police, giving rise to an inference that the police were acting selectively in denying the flag-burners police protection based on their offensive political views).

One is tempted to ask where the ACLU is, since it claims to support the First Amendment. Of course, the ACLU is anything but even-handed when it comes to defending civil liberties, having itself advocated many restrictions on politically-incorrect speech, such as in California workplaces and college campuses, even as it argues that child pornography is protected speech.

Maybe no one taught the Berkeley police about their constitutional responsibilities. After all, the state of many California schools is deplorable, despite record education spending, and an illiterate teacher taught for 17 years in a California school without ever being detected.