University Reassigns Police Chief Weeks After Violence Breaks Out During Pro-Palestinian Protest

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Police Chief John Thomas has been reassigned after he was criticized for failing to break up a violent clash between pro-Palestinian protesters and counter-protesters, according to The New York Times.

The Los Angeles Police Department was called in on May 1 after UCLA’s security team failed to stop a brawl between pro-Israel protesters and an encampment of pro-Palestinian protesters that had been occupying the campus grounds for days, according to the NYT. Criticism mounted against Thomas over the reportedly delayed response to the breakout. (RELATED: NYPD Arrests Dozens Of Anti-Israel Protesters In Raucous Clash)

Gawin Gibson, formerly the captain of the operations bureau, has been named acting chief of police, Mary Osako, vice chancellor for strategic communications, told the Times.

“U.C.L.A. created a new Office of Campus Safety that is leading a thorough examination of our security processes, aimed at enhancing the well-being and safety of our community,” Osako said.

CHP officers hold the line near an encampment by supporters of Palestinians in Gaza, on the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 1, 2024. (REUTERS/David Swanson)

Multiple people were injured during the protest, with one reporter claiming that unknown individuals used pepper spray before police showed up and began breaking up the fighting. Internal communications documents later showed that the university canceled a request for additional officers ahead of the protest.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block is set to testify Thursday in front of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce regarding antisemitism on campus and how the protests turned violent, according to the Los Angeles Times.

UCLA and the campus police department did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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