GRAPHIC: Conservative activist punched on UC Berkeley campus

GRAPHIC: Conservative activist punched on UC Berkeley campus
According to UC Berkeley police, it started with a verbal altercation between the assailant and the alleged victim, who is not a student at the school. The confrontation became physical when he pulled out his phone, and the assailant knocked it from his hand before punching him. (KPIX, Facebook/Berkeley College Republicans, CNN)

BERKELEY, CA (KPIX/CNN) - Police are looking for a suspect accused of assaulting a man for expressing his conservative views on a college campus.

The altercation took place at the University of California in Berkeley on Tuesday.

According to campus police, it started with a verbal altercation between the assailant and the alleged victim, who is not a student at the school. The confrontation became physical when he pulled out his phone, and the assailant knocked it from his hand before punching him.

At least two other witnesses saw the incident and recorded it on their phones. The man seen wearing black is the suspect UC Berkeley officers are looking to question and possibly detain.

The man in the white cap on the receiving end of that punch is Hayden Williams, a volunteer from conservative group Turning Points USA.

Williams was invited to the school by a conservative group on campus. He says he is fine.

On his table was a sign that allegedly read, "Beware of fake hate crimes" - a reference to the case involving "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett that has been a fixture in national news.

Friends Arda Erbil and Alexander Szarka were leaving class when they saw the commotion.

"It started off as verbal, and it kind of heightened up, where he was breaking down posters and taking down the table," Erbil said.

That's when the pair pulled out their phones.

"I was like, 'Oh, this is going to get intense.' And that's why I got out my phone and I wanted to film it," Szarka said. "I didn't think that it was going to escalate to the extent that it did."

Tables promoting different clubs on campus are a daily occurrence at Sproul Plaza, but political combat hasn't been seen since the protests surrounding a scheduled appearance from Milo Yiannopolous.

"The university condemns, in the strongest possible terms, violence and harassment of any sort, no matter who the perpetrators are, no matter who the targets are," said Dan Mogulof, assistant vice chancellor, UC Berkeley Public Affairs

The Berkeley College Republicans tweeted out the video Thursday, calling it a "leftist" attack.

"One of the few things that holds America together is this idea that we can debate our differences and still remain one country committed to some ideals of free expression and debate," said Rudra Reedy, Berkeley College Republicans. "And when we see incidences like this, that ideal is undermined."

Police are asking for the public's help identifying the suspect.

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