Ann Coulter will not be speaking at UC Berkeley on Thursday - at least not in any organized capacity - after the main group sponsoring her withdrew its support saying that new information indicates police will not be able to protect the conservative author from rioters planning violence.
"We discovered that the University of California Police Department at Berkeley has an official 'stand-down' policy for any situation that develops on campus as long as the situation doesn't involve the imminent loss of life, allowing the leftist thugs who have terrorized Berkeley's campus to do so without consequence," conservative group Young Americas Foundation said when pulling its support. Berkeley police did not respond to a request for comment.
"The leftist mob wouldn't have gotten away with it - if YAF hadn't pulled out," Coulter told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday. "I'd still like to dash onto Sproul Plaza with a megaphone, but with my sponsor basically allying with the administration to keep me off Berkeley, I think that may be nuts."
Coulter added: "I have no one on the ground, no college Republicans, no lawyer, no insurance, no security ... no idea what the campus is like. At the moment I don't even have a megaphone."
"Why hasn't Gov. Jerry Brown ordered the National Guard in?" the conservative commentator said. "He might have - if there had been a court order. The way we vindicate constitutional right in this country is by going to court and forcing state actors violating our rights as American citizens to stop. But YAF wouldn't file for a court order, just damages - which Berkeley doesn't care about. It's on the California taxpayers."
Coulter was set to speak on Thursday even though the university told her she had no permission to do so and that she should instead re-jigger her schedule to appear the following week, when fewer students are available for outside activities because classes are not in session in preparation for finals. Coulter declined and YAF, along with Berkeley College Republicans sued administrators - including University of California president Janet Napolitano - for damages and to try to force them to allow Coulter on campus Thursday.
"Napolitano used to be the secretary of homeland security. She had to keep the entire country safe. I think she can keep a college campus safe," Coulter said on Fox News.
"Berkeley made it impossible to hold a lecture due to the lack of assurances for protections from foreseeable violence from unrestrained agitators," YAF said.
In letters back and forth between Berkeley's chief counsel and YAF's attorney, Harmeet Dhillon, the university acknowledged that its police department "received mounting intelligence that some of the same groups that previously engaged in local violent action also intended violence at the Coulter event."
Berkeley has been a hotbed of rioting since the election of President Donald Trump, but most notably in February when Milo Yiannopoulos was set to appear. Police were criticized then for an alleged "stand-down" policy after 90 cops "took a hands-off approach" and "largely stood to the side" while 150 agitators "used metal rods, Molotov cocktails and commercial-grade fireworks to overwhelm police and smash bank branch and storefront windows," the Associated Press reported at the time.
In the lawsuit Dhillon filed on behalf of YAF and BCR, the attorney wrote: "Defendant freely admits that they have permitted the demands of a faceless, rabid, off-campus mob to dictate what speech is permitted at the center of campus during prime time, and which speech may be marginalized, burdened, and regulated out of its very existence by this unlawful heckler's veto."
And at a press conference Wednesday on Sproul Plaza on the campus, Dhillon reiterated that Berkeley and the police department allowed "liberal fascists" an illegal "heckler's veto. She said Berkeley had several weeks to prepare for Coulter but refused to ensure her safety unless she agreed to a one-week delay.
Dhillon also said UC Berkeley has engaged in "inaction" and "propaganda" and she referred to the lawsuit she filed as a "long game that we are playing" on behalf of conservatives who are invited to speak on college campuses.
She also blasted administrators for telling Coulter she could speak outdoors at Sproul Plaza, where security is far more challenging, while high-profile speakers like Bernie Sanders and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were afforded secure, indoor facilities at Berkeley.