Four Texas State University students were arrested Wednesday following an altercation with another student who was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat during a demonstration on campus.
Campus Reform first reported that Tyler M., a freshman, was in an area on campus where counter-protesters were demonstrating in anticipation of a protest by conservative biker group Texas Nomads SAR, which never showed.
Tyler said he was engaging in conversation with some of the counter-protesters when one of them grabbed the pro-President Trump hat off his head, threw it on the ground and kicked it. Video posted by Campus Reform showed part of the exchange as a female student is seen kicking a MAGA hat on the ground as a police officer is trying to speak to her.
“Again, none of our conservative people were ever instigating anything,” Tyler M. told Campus Reform. “I can guarantee that. No one was ever yelling or shouting over people. We were all very patient.”
Campus Police Chief Laurie Clouse released a statement Thursday confirming that the arrests were made after one student stole a hat off another student’s head and fled.
“Police officers quickly interceded and directed the student to drop the stolen property,” the statement read. “The student refused multiple directives and was then detained with the intention of being given a ticket for theft. The student was later arrested after providing a false identity to the police.”
Police said two additional students were arrested during the incident after interfering with the officers’ duties. A fourth student was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct outside the police department where the students had been escorted.
Tyler, who did not provide Campus Reform his last name due to fear of retaliation, was not one of the students arrested.
The video Tyler took of the incident showed him following officers escorting the first two women in handcuffs to the campus police station. A third demonstrator was handcuffed inside the police station after confronting the officers. The fourth arrest was not captured by Tyler’s video.
In her statement, Chief Clouse defended the officers’ actions.
“Although the investigation is ongoing, the initial review indicates that the officers involved acted appropriately with the goal of preventing further escalation,” she wrote. “When a theft occurred in plain view, they were right to act. I understand it’s difficult to watch the arrests on social media, however, the officers were there to protect all of our students. We expect our students to obey the law.”
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