Northwestern University Students Turn Peaceful Protest into Riot
Evanston, Illinois – What started as a peaceful protest on Saturday, quickly turned for the worst in Evanston, Illinois’ Northwestern University campus.
A demonstration by approximately 150 students that demanded the university abolish its police department quickly descended into chaos resulting in property damage, protestors throwing bricks at police and shining high powered lasers into police officers eyes.
The protestors also launched fireworks at officers during the rioting that eventuated Saturday night, resulting in the arrest of one protestor and the pepper spraying of two others as Police moved to control and disperse the crowd.
Police Chief Demetrius Cook spoke out against the rioting on Sunday, stating that the protesters turned what was supposed to be a peaceful protest into violence.
“We allowed them to do peaceful assembly and we would have let it ride until they turned to violence with bricks,” Cook said in a statement to local news sources.
A statement from the NUGW protest group that lead the protest that resulted in violence stated in part:
“We unequivocally condemn the police brutality on display last night. Last night proved once again that it is heavily armed, militarized police who create and escalate violence. As NU Community, not Cops has long argued, and as we, unfortunately, saw on display last evening, the police do not, and never will, keep us safe.”
The organization alleges that members reported an increase in police aggression and repeated attempts by police to provoke the protesters, although all violence seen in the video of the confrontation was incited by the group.
Evanston Mayor Stephen Hagerty sent a letter to the President of Northwestern University, stating that “residents do not support protesters throwing objects at police officers and damaging property.” and also stated that the city expects Northwestern University to cover the cost of officer response to a month-long series of anti-police protests, mostly led by students.
Northwestern issued the following statement after Saturday’s confrontation:
“As we have stated before, Northwestern strongly supports the free expression of ideas and vigorous debate, abiding principles that are fundamental to our University. Northwestern protects the right to protest, but we do not condone breaking the law. Should members of the Northwestern community be found in violation of University policies, state or federal laws, they will be held accountable through our processes.”
At the time of publishing, it is still unclear if any if any students of the university were positively identified in the melee, or if any will face internal discipline from the university.