Shane Bauer, a reporter at Mother Jones, was in the middle of brawls that broke out Saturday during an alt-right rally in Berkeley, Calif. As he reported the scene live on Twitter, he wondered why the cops were nowhere to be found.
Though 12 arrests were made, Bauer’s video footage often showed Berkeley police officers standing back as fights broke out. The violence included one noted white supremacist, identified as Nathan Damigo, who punched a female protestor in the face. Damigo was not one of the dozen people arrested.
Bauer was on the scene chronicling the outbursts and stories of the protestors. He shared several videos on Twitter, and could not help but wonder why police had not intervened to end the clashes between alt-right supporters and anti-fascists.
Bauer then tracked down police officers on his own who were stationed on the periphery of the action. He asked one officer why he was standing back. The cop, wearing riot gear, said, “I’m not at liberty to discuss my tactics.”
Another officer told Bauer that he was ordered to stand down by their chief. One officer told Bauer, “That would be a good question for the chief of police.” The other officer, according to Bauer, deferred all questions about police tactics to the department’s public information officer.
Bauer told the officer, “I’ve been wondering, I mean I’ve just been watching people all day get beat up pretty bad and I haven’t seen you guys around much.”