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UCLA Campus Police Chief Reassigned After His Handling of Pro-Palestinian Protests

UCLA Campus Police Chief Reassigned After His Handling of Pro-Palestinian Protests

Pro-Palestinian protesters link arms as they face law enforcement in an encampment at UCLA in Los Angeles on May 2, 2024. (Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

5/22/2024

Updated: 5/22/2024

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After widespread criticism over his handling of recent pro-Palestinian protests and counter-protests at UCLA, campus Police Chief John Thomas was temporarily reassigned pending an examination of security processes.
The reassignment was announced in a statement on May 21 by Mary Osako, UCLA’s vice chancellor for communications.
From April 30 to May 2, hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters set up a large encampment on UCLA’s campus and clashed with hundreds of pro-Israel counter-protesters May 2, prompting police to respond at the request of university officials.
Officers arrested more than 200 protesters, who face misdemeanor charges of failing to disperse, according to Los Angeles Police Department Chief Dominic Choi.
However, the officers’ handling of the protests was met with criticism from members of the community, who cited a lack of planning, insufficient measures to prevent violence, delayed responses to violence when it erupted, and a lack of backup from other law enforcement agencies.
These complaints prompted UCLA Chancellor Gene Block to order a review of campus security procedures.
As part of the changes, UCLA created a new chief safety officer position to oversee campus security.
Rick Braziel, a former Sacramento police chief, was appointed to lead the new Office of Campus Safety, which will oversee the UCLA Police Department.
Mr. Block said in a May 5 statement, “To best protect our community moving forward, urgent changes are needed in how we administer safety operations.”
The chancellor is scheduled to testify before a state Assembly committee on May 23 regarding the protests.
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Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

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Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.

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