VIDEO: Campus cops defend vandalism, destruction of property
Multiple students recently vandalized advertisements for an upcoming pro-life event at the University of Florida, but campus police were hesitant to pin them for any wrong-doing.
In fact, video obtained by Campus Reform shows police officers responding to concerns from students hosting the upcoming “Exposing Margaret Sanger” event by suggesting that once an advertisement is posted in the school’s free-speech zone it “is no longer yours,” and therefore subject to defacement by passersby.
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“That’s not your property. Once you posted it there, it’s no longer yours. You may have paid for them, but it’s a free-speech zone,” one officer stated. “You can go and take it down if you want; somebody else can take it down if they want.”
The students attempted to clarify that the unidentified vandal had both torn down their advertisements and knocked a cell phone out of the hands of one student who was recording, but officers were still reluctant to assign blame.
“He defended himself because he didn’t want to be videotaped,” one officer surmised, while another claimed that if “he doesn’t like it [the poster], he can rip it off.”
Prior to this exchange, the vandal in question was recorded tearing dozens of posters bearing the phrase “Margaret Sanger was a racist eugenicist,” before walking away from the scene as a student followed him with a cell phone camera.
At one point, the video shows the unidentified vandal knocking the phone out of a pro-life student’s hands, though he later returned to discuss his frustrations with the flyers, explaining that he wasn’t upset with their content so much as the sheer number posted.
“I wouldn’t mind it, you just shouldn’t cover the whole walls in it. People don’t want to walk through here and see all of these papers and stuff,” he explained, again growing frustrated that he was being filmed.
“If I’m telling you not to take a video of me, you can’t take a video of me. I just…I don’t want videos posted anywhere, alright?” he added, later attempting to walk away because he doesn’t “like aggression.”
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“I’m sorry, that probably sounds really hypocritical,” he acknowledged. “I’m just saying I don’t want to have to be aggressive, but because of, like, stuff throughout the school that I’m involved in, if my name gets out that I was doing anything really bad, I could get in a lot of trouble.”
The student eventually walked away, but yet another video captured a second vandal who threatened to sue over being recorded.
“I am tearing down your signs, and I’m not kidding that I will sue because you’re not allowed to post my face online,” he asserted, though he later conceded that he was in the wrong when an unknown man approached him on a bike to explain that he “can be arrested for that” behavior.
Leadership Institute Regional Field Coordinator Hannah Weeks, who was helping the group promote their event, informed Campus Reform that a police report has been filed, but has yet to be made public.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski