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UCLA police chief John Thomas reassigned following criticism over handling of anti-Israel protests

The police chief on the University of California, Los Angeles, has been reassigned following criticism over his handling of latest campus demonstrations that included a mob attacking a pro-Palestinian encampment.

Chief John Thomas was briefly reassigned Tuesday “pending an examination of our security processes,” mentioned Mary Osako, UCLA vice chancellor for strategic communications, in an announcement launched Wednesday.

The Daily Bruin reported late Tuesday that Thomas mentioned in a textual content to the campus newspaper, “There’s been a lot going on and, I learned late yesterday that I’m temporarily reassigned from my duties as chief.”

University of California, Los Angeles, Police Chief John Thomas was temporarily reassigned Tuesday.
University of California, Los Angeles, Police Chief John Thomas was briefly reassigned Tuesday. UCLA Police Department

Neither Osako nor Thomas recognized his reassigned position.

The reassignment of Thomas follows UCLA’s May 5 announcement of the creation of a brand new chief security officer place to supervise campus safety operations.

On April 30, counterdemonstrators attacked a pro-Palestinian encampment, throwing site visitors cones, releasing pepper spray and tearing down obstacles.

Fighting continued for a number of hours earlier than police stepped in, and nobody was arrested.

At least 15 protesters suffered accidents.

Thomas advised the Los Angeles Times in early May that he did “everything I could” to offer safety and preserve college students secure throughout days of strife that left UCLA shaken.

Police wrestle a pro-Palestinian protester to the ground to put wrist restraints on him at the University of California, Irvine, after police began to move protesters and an encampment off the quad, May 15, 2024, in Irvine, Calif.
Police wrestle a protester to the bottom to place wrist restraints on him on the University of California, Irvine, after police started to maneuver protesters and an encampment off the quad on May 15, 2024. AP

But his response was roundly criticized and prompted Chancellor Gene Block to order a overview of campus safety procedures.

Block then introduced that Rick Braziel, a former Sacramento police chief, would lead a brand new Office of Campus Safety that may oversee the UCLA Police Department.

“To best protect our community moving forward, urgent changes are needed in how we administer safety operations,” Block mentioned within the May 5 assertion.

Police face-off with pro-Palestinian students after destroying part of the encampment barricade on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in Los Angeles, California, early on May 2, 2024.
Police face-off with pro-Palestinian college students after destroying half of the encampment barricade on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California, on May 2, 2024. AFP by way of Getty Images
Police react while students stand their ground after police breached their encampment at the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in Los Angeles, California, early on May 2, 2024
Police react whereas college students stand their floor after police breached their encampment on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in Los Angeles, California, early on May 2, 2024 AFP by way of Getty Images

Sporadic disruptions continued following the dismantling of a pro-Palestinian encampment and a few 200 arrests on April 30.

Block has been summoned to Washington by a Republican-led House committee to testify Thursday concerning the protests on the Los Angeles campus.

The union that represents greater than 250 officers who police the ten UC campuses criticized Thomas’ reassignment.

“The UCLA administration owns the failure of any protest response, and the public should reject their attempts to shift blame to law enforcement,” Wade Stern, president of the Federated University Peace Officers’ Association, mentioned in an announcement Wednesday.

“The response to protests appears ad hoc and devoid of the structured planning mandated by the UC system.”

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