Police criticized for lack of action during U.C. Berkeley protests

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Police at Cal have been facing criticism for how they responded to protesters Wednesday night. There's also concern about the effect this could have on Cal students going forward.

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The dust barely settled at U.C. Berkeley after a destructive protest, perpetrated by outside agitators, when President Donald Trump took to Twitter with a threat.

East Bay Congresswoman Barbara Lee was quick to respond with her own statement: Simply put President Trump's empty threat to cut funding from U.C. Berkeley is an abuse of power."

Last year Cal received $370 million in research money from the federal government, more than half its total research budget of $674 million.

"All we can say is federal funds allocated to universities are used for two purposes, one is to fund financial aid for low-income students," said Dan Mogulo of U.C. Berkeley. The other is to fund basic research that fuels California's and the nation's economy."

The campus administration and police are defending their response to the hours-long protest that left property destroyed, windows shattered and some in the crowd bloodied.
"The turning point was the arrival of more than 100 individuals," Mogulo told ABC7 News. "They were clothed in dark uniforms, faces covered. They were armed."

For more than two hours, police gave a half dozen orders for the demonstrators to disperse but took no action before the crowd broke up on its own.

"We were actually waiting for mutual aid to come because we knew we were going to need those extra lines of officers to move people off the campus and disperse the crowd," said Berkeley Police chief Margo Bennett.

RELATED: Trump questions U.C. Berkeley funding after protest

Both Oakland Police and Alameda County Sheriff's sent officers to help U.C. police.

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