Judge tosses woman’s suit over Yiannopou­los protest

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - FROM THE COVER - By Me­gan Cas­sidy Me­gan Cas­sidy is a San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle staff writer. Email: me­gan. cas­sidy@sfchron­i­cle.com Twit­ter: @megan­r­cas­sidy

A fed­eral judge has dis­missed nearly all the claims made in a $23 mil­lion law­suit filed by a woman who was pep­per­sprayed last year at UC Berke­ley dur­ing a protest against right-wing provo­ca­teur Milo Yiannopou­los.

Oak­land res­i­dent Kiara Robles filed the Au­gust 2017 suit against six in­di­vid­u­als and en­ti­ties, in­clud­ing the UC Board of Re­gents, the city of Berke­ley and peo­ple she said were mem­bers of the far-left ac­tivist group An­tifa.

Robles said the de­fen­dants “will­fully with­held police of­fi­cers” to pro­tect pro-Yiannopou­los and pro-Pres­i­dent Trump sup­port­ers like her­self be­cause they were at odds with the de­fen­dants’ po­lit­i­cal be­liefs.

U.S. District Judge Clau­dia Wilken on Fri­day dis­missed all claims against the re­gents and Berke­ley, and part of a claim against al­leged An­tifa mem­ber Raha Mirab­dal. Robles said that Mirab­dal shined a flash­light “ag­gres­sively” in her face to in­ca­pac­i­tate her and left her prone to at­tacks by other An­tifa mem­bers.

In a 23-page rul­ing, Wilken wrote: “There are sim­ply not enough fac­tual al­le­ga­tions to show that it is plau­si­ble that Berke­ley has an of­fi­cial pol­icy or cus­tom of ‘se­lec­tively pro­vid­ing police sup­port and with­hold­ing police sup­port to con­ser­va­tive events, ral­lies, and protests.’ ”

The rul­ing dis­missed in­di­vid­ual claims against UC Pres­i­dent Janet Napoli­tano and UC Berke­ley Chan­cel­lor Ni­cholas Dirks, not­ing that “the First Amend­ment does not re­quire the in­di­vid­ual de­fen­dants to pro­tect Robles against the ac­tions of oth­ers.”

The judge also dis­missed a claim against An­tifa.

Wilken left a win­dow open for Robles to pur­sue civil ac­tion against Mirab­dal and gave her 21 days to file an amended com­plaint.

Robles did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quests for com­ment Satur­day.

In Fe­bru­ary 2017, Yiannopou­los was sched­uled to speak at UC Berke­ley. What be­gan as a peace­ful demon­stra­tion erupted into vi­o­lence, with masked an­ar­chists hurl­ing smoke bombs, smash­ing win­dows and rip­ping down me­tal bar­ri­cades.

The univer­sity ul­ti­mately can­celed the event.

Robles was do­ing an in­ter­view with a KGO-TV news re­porter when an un­seen as­sailant pep­per­sprayed her.

Robles had filed a sim­i­lar suit in June 2017 with an ex­panded list of de­fen­dants, in­clud­ing Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Fran­cisco, and lib­eral phi­lan­thropist Ge­orge Soros, but later dropped it.

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