The University of California, Berkeley paid police half a million dollars in overtime last Thursday to deal with the threat created by leftists opposed to letting conservative author Ann Coulter speak — even though she never did.
Coulter pulled out of her planned speech after the sponsoring organizations dropped the event due to security concerns. The university had insisted that Coulter speak at dates and times when there would be fewer students on campus, and Coulter refused, citing free speech principles. The campus, which prided itself on being the home of the Free Speech Movement in the 1960s, has become dangerous for conservatives, who face mob violence when expressing their views.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
Bay Area law enforcement agencies called in to prevent violence from erupting on campus after Coulter’s appearance there was scuttled on Thursday cost a total of a half-million dollars in overtime, said Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern.
Ahern estimated his agency alone spent about $80,000 in overtime and he expects to be reimbursed by the University of California.
The Oakland Police Department, San Leandro Police Department, California Highway Patrol and six other UC campuses sent officers to Berkeley on Thursday after Coulter’s speech on campus was canceled.
As Breitbart News reported last week, pro- and anti-Trump demonstrators faced off at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Park, but there was no violence. On campus itself, police who had been posted to Sproul Plaza — a “free speech” zone where Coulter had previously said she would speak, even if the university would not provide a venue — were mostly idle.
According to Berkeleyside, a spokesman for the Alameda County police said that the costs, roughly $1,000 per officer, had probably been worthwhile, since “nothing happened.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.