The man who was arrested and charged with allegedly punching a conservative at the University of California-Berkeley appeared in court Wednesday and pleaded “not guilty.”
Zachary Greenberg is believed to be the man seen on video punching Hayden Williams, a conservative activist who was on campus helping Turning Point USA recruit members. In the video, two men are exchanging words with Williams, and one of them begins shoving the activist before punching him in the face.
Williams said the encounter started over a sign reading, “Hate Crime Hoaxes Hurt Real Victims,” in reference to the recent accusation from “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.
Williams’ attorney, Harmeet Dhillon, told The Daily Caller that a “not guilty” please wasn’t surprising.
“It is customary for criminal defendants to enter a not guilty plea, so I’m not surprised by that,” Dhillon said, adding that Greenberg has apparently had other brushes “with the court system.”
Greenberg’s attorney, Alana Coopersmith, told reporters on Wednesday that her client is innocent until proven guilty.
“He was using the library at UC Berkeley to study,” she said. “He has a clean record. I realize that many people observing this case are interested in constitutional freedom. I would remind them that one important constitutional freedom is the presumption of innocence, due process of law, due process in a courtroom, not on social media or the internet.”
Greenberg is also not a Berkeley student.
Greenberg was charged with three felonies for assault, battery, and criminal threats. He also faces a misdemeanor vandalism charge. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison, according to the College Fix.
KTVU crime reporter Henry Lee tweeted video of Greenberg leaving the courtroom and his attorney’s statement.
It is possible that Greenberg isn’t the man seen in the video. Appearances can be deceiving. Conservatives, including TP USA president Charlie Kirk, criticized Berkeley and local police for taking too long to find the suspect. The attack occurred on February 19, and Greenberg was identified, according to Berkeley officials, a week later. He was arrested on March 1.
That honestly doesn’t sound like they were dragging their feet, especially if Greenberg wasn’t a student.
Though conservatives were rightly outraged that one of their own was actually attacked for his political views, media outlets (who had spread Smollett’s implausible claims far and wide) barely reported the incident. When Newsweek reported the story, it used the word “allegedly” to describe the attack, something it didn’t do with Smollett’s claim. Perhaps they finally learned their lesson after all the hoaxes, but that seems unlikely
The Washington Post didn’t initially report the story, and when it finally did, it reported it from the angle that “the response enraged the right,” making it clear the Left was perfectly okay with this kind of violence.