UCLA Campus Police Chief Removed Following Response to Pro-Palestinian Protests

Los Angeles, California’s University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is facing a security shakeup as the campus police chief, John Thomas, has been temporarily reassigned. This decision comes after Thomas received heavy criticism for his handling of pro-Palestinian student protests that turned violent on campus.

The incident in question occurred late April 30th, when chaos erupted at UCLA as a mob attacked a pro-Palestinian encampment. Videos from the scene captured disturbing images of counter-protesters engaging in physical violence, using poles to beat people, spraying chemical irritants, and setting off fireworks. Law enforcement officers took hours to intervene and eventually dismantle the encampment.

Thomas’ reassignment was first reported by UCLA’s student-run newspaper, the Daily Bruin. Thomas himself confirmed the news in a text message, expressing that he had been temporarily removed from his duties as chief. In an earlier interview with the Los Angeles Times, Thomas defended his actions, stating he did everything in his power to maintain security and ensure students’ safety during the period of unrest related to the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The clashes at UCLA are part of a larger trend of escalating tensions and protests on college campuses across the U.S. following Hamas’ attack on Israel and Israel’s subsequent invasion of Gaza. These events have led to heated debates and divisions among students, with pro-Palestinian demonstrations prompting law enforcement crackdowns in some instances.

In response to the incident and concerns raised about campus security processes, UCLA has announced the appointment of Gawin Gibson as the acting chief of police. Additionally, the university has established a new Office of Campus Safety to conduct a thorough review of security procedures aimed at enhancing the well-being and safety of the community.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Bock is expected to testify before a House committee to address the protests that disrupted the campus. He will be joined by the presidents of Northwestern University and Rutgers University, highlighting the widespread impact of the recent unrest on college campuses nationwide. The outcome of these investigations and testimonies will likely shape future security measures and responses to similar situations at universities across the country.