An Oakland man pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning to three felony counts and one misdemeanor count alleging that he attacked a conservative activist at University of California at Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza last month.
Zachary Greenberg, 28, is charged with assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, battery with serious bodily injury and criminal threats for his alleged attack on Hayden Williams, an organizer with conservative group Turning Point USA, while Williams was manning a table at Sproul Plaza on Feb. 19.
Greenberg, who is free on bail, also is charged with misdemeanor vandalism causing less than $400 in damage. He’s scheduled to return to court on April 9 for a pre-trial hearing.
Neither Williams nor Greenberg are UC Berkeley students. On Feb. 19, Williams was “tabling” for Turning Point at Sproul Plaza, where many groups have display tables, when two men approached him, an argument started and a physical confrontation ensued when one of the two men slapped the phone out of the victim’s hand, UC police said.
Police said the suspect, later identified as Greenberg, then knocked over the table Williams was at and the two men struggled over the phone.
During the struggle, Greenberg allegedly punched Williams several times, causing injuries to his eye and nose, according to police. Videos of the incident went viral after they were shared by conservative groups who alleged that the assault was a leftist attack on students’ free speech.
President Donald Trump took note of the incident and brought Williams onstage at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday and encouraged him to sue UC Berkeley and the state of California.
UC Berkeley issued a statement on Sunday saying that much of the reporting and commentary on the incident is “willfully distorted and inaccurate” and that it supports free speech for all of its students and others who come to its campus.