The man identified by police as the person seen attacking a conservative recruiter on Berkeley’s campus has been charged with three felonies and one misdemeanor. Today he had his first court appearance where he pleaded not guilty to the charges. Video shot by KTVU’s Henry Lee shows Greenberg said nothing on the way into the hearing but his attorney did comment briefly on the way out:
HAPPENING NOW: Zachary Greenberg leaves court after pleading not guilty to attacking conservative activist Hayden Williams at @UCBerkeley. Defense attorney Alanna Coopersmith speaks out. @KTVU pic.twitter.com/Js4VSWjk4X
— Henry K. Lee (@henrykleeKTVU) March 6, 2019
“I realize that many people observing this case are interested in constitutional freedom,” the attorney said. She added, “I would remind that one important constitutional freedom is the presumption of innocence, due process of law, due process in a courtroom, not on social media or the internet.”
Clearly, she’s aware that her client is not well liked outside of Berkeley. And of course, she’s absolutely right that he’s entitled to due process. As for the presumption of innocence, that still exists but in this case we’ve all seen the video, including the punch and the threat to shoot Hayden Williams. If she get a judge or jury to overlook all of that she’s a hell of an attorney.
The Free Beacon’s David Rutz posted a copy of the court documents on Twitter yesterday. They specify four charges: “Three felonies: assault, battery with serious bodily injury, criminal threats. One misdemeanor: vandalism.”
Criminal complaint filed this morning against Zachary Greenberg, suspect in the assault at Berkeley of conservative activist Hayden Williams. Three felonies: assault, battery with serious bodily injury, criminal threats. One misdemeanor: vandalism. He'll be arraigned tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/nEhPn2E4L3
— David Rutz (@DavidRutz) March 5, 2019
The assault and battery charges refer to the punching and grabbing of Hayden Williams. The criminal threat isn’t specified but is almost certainly the verbal threat to shoot Williams. Finally, the misdemeanor charge was for damage to Williams’ cell phone. Greenberg (allegedly) knocked the phone to the ground after Williams pulled it out and began filming him with it.
USA Today published a piece today by Hayden Williams, the victim in the attack. Williams describes the experience of the last two weeks as “surreal” and says that what happened to him is the consequence of a far-left ideology which equates differing opinions with violence.
Increasingly, leftists believe they are justified to respond to ideas disagreeable to them with open hostility and even force. Students are commonly told now that words are literally violent and can be responded to with physical force. I don’t mean verbal threats of violence or efforts to intimidate, I mean words that express ideas that the listener finds offensive or disagrees with.
The message that provoked my attacker was our sign that read “Hate Crime Hoaxes Hurt Real Victims,” a reference to the recent case of Jussie Smollett, who was charged by Chicago police with filing a false police report about an apparently fictitious attack. My attacker said we were promoting violence, which, in his view, gives him permission to use any means necessary to shut us down. The irony is that the sign was intended to warn of the danger of disregarding facts and jumping to judgment in an effort to confirm a narrative our feelings tell us is true.
It’s not even arguable that’s what happened here. There were two men who approached Williams on the Berkeley campus last month. One of them pointed to his table and his signs referencing the Smollett case and said, “You are f**king encouraging violence.” Seconds later, Greenberg (allegedly) knocked the phone out of Williams’ hand and then flipped over the table full of offensive messages. The conflict escalated from there but it started with the claim that political speech was encouraging violence. Here’s the clip put together by the College Fix: