Public Comment

Berkeley Riots

Tara Patenaude, Auburn, MA
Wednesday October 04, 2017 - 02:56:00 PM

Months ago, I was watching a “protest” in Berkeley on TV. It had become volatile, with several fights breaking out, mace being sprayed and many businesses vandalized. While watching this take place, I watched as a man was being dragged away while being beaten up and realized the police were not interfering and standing off to the side until another man, who was later identified as Kyle Chapman, who was seen off to the side- appeared to realize what was happening, he paused for a moment then swung the sign/pole at the person dragging away his friend, the pole breaking upon impact. In that moment, I thought to myself that this guy is a hero for sticking up for his friend.  

The police eventually went into the crowd and arrested several people-the cause of the sudden action at that time is unknown but it has been reported by both news sources and social media that the Police were ordered to not intervene until they were told otherwise. One of those arrested was Kyle, who’s case I have been following rather closely and has made me question if California laws violate the 8th amendment right guaranteed by our constitution which excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. This would also apply to the $135k bail in August. 

Kyle was wearing a mask, helmet and carried a sign on a wooden pole, of which he stated he had brought these items due to the past riots in Berkeley, CA, in an effort to ensure the safety of himself and those around him. These items proved to be necessary and used at the time of Kyles arrest, and a few other rally’s after this. 

I had the opportunity to meet Kyle. He flew to Boston and he gave an inspirational speech encouraging the protection of our Constitution and our American culture of diverse people coming together, following the laws of the land, and advocating to celebrate being white much like other races are able to do, without being called racist. That would mean equality for all citizens. Kyle was articulate, with a positive message while addressing these issues and when I spoke with him, he was kind and gracious. 

According to California Penal Code 198.5-99, “the defendant is not guilty of whatever forceful act was used in self-defense if he/she used force against the other person in lawful self-defense or in defense of another. The defendant acted in lawful self-defense of defense of another if the defendant reasonably believed that the person being defended was in imminent danger of suffering bodily injury and that the force used was reasonably necessary to defend against that danger”. This appears to categorize the “assault” Kyle is accused of committing. Kyle is also in jeopardy of going to jail for an extended period of time due to California’s 3 strikes law. We are all aware of his past, but he has since grown into an honest, caring man.  

I have found varying inconsistencies as to what “weapon” Kyle was carrying. These range from “long pole”, “large stick”, “large stick of wood”, “leaded stick”, “large piece of lumber”, “lead pipe” and “large baton”. While these aren’t drastic changes, any discrepancy would cause a Police Detective to doubt the honesty of those being interviewed. I believe that Kyle has been wrongfully accused. I saw the pole clearly, it was a wooden flag pole, 5-6 feet long, approximately 1 inch in diameter. It snapped on impact so it was likely a soft wood, such as Pine. If it were anything leaded or otherwise altered, it would not have snapped as it did. Kyle has made many sacrifices to encourage patriotic Americans to realize that gradually, over time, our freedoms are rapidly decreasing. Kyle is a patriotic soldier fighting for the constitutional rights for ALL of us, as well as being honest, caring and courageous. In the moment that lead to his arrest, he was a hero to that man being attacked by a mob in Berkeley, and his actions as a soldier fighting for our constitutional rights and does not deserve to be put into jail for protecting people from being assaulted.