Police Deploy Tear Gas Against Anti-Israel Protesters

(RightWing.org) – The outbreak of pro-Palestine/anti-Israel demonstrations at several of the nation’s college campuses remained relatively peaceful for several weeks. However, violent clashes between outside agitators, students, and law enforcement officials erupted after university officials started asking for assistance beyond their campus police departments. A recent news report showed police officers deploying tear gas against protesting students.

On April 30, Angela Van Der Pluym, an investigative journalist for the conservative website Loomered, reported that eyewitnesses confirmed that law enforcement officials at the University of South Florida (USF) told students staging a pro-Hamas encampment that they would deploy tear gas if they didn’t disperse within five minutes.

Later that day, local NBC affiliate WFLA reported that USF Police Department (USFPD) officials arrested 10 individuals after making good on that promise to use tear gas. Video footage of the incident showed protesters armed with wooden shields and umbrellas locking arms as police officers approached them to start making arrests.

USFPD officers deployed the tear gas at roughly 5:15 p.m. local time. Police Chief Christopher Daniel told reporters his officers cleared the area by 6:00 p.m.

A USF spokesperson told reporters the school valued the right of campus groups and individuals to exercise their free speech rights. “This includes peaceful protests and demonstrations,” the official explained. Continuing, the university’s representative said those gatherings “must remain peaceful” and school officials made their position clear that “violence, threats… and disruptions [would] not be tolerated.”

The following day, WFLA reported that four current and two former USF students were arrested. Four of the individuals taken into custody had no affiliation with the university.

Law enforcement officials charged two of the students with felonies, including 23-year-old Leonardo Tillel, who faces one count of battery on a law enforcement officer and several misdemeanors. Likewise, Emmanuel Atmosfera, 23, faces two felonies involving aggravated assault with a weapon and resisting an officer with violence. Like Tillel, he had several misdemeanor counts filed against him.

Two of the individuals not affiliated with the USF face felony charges. Jail records confirmed that the police charged 23-year-old Jake Geffon with resisting with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer. Atah Othman, 39, was charged with possession of a firearm on school property.

Police officials charged the remaining suspects with various misdemeanors like trespassing.

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