Tucson, AZ – Two members of an anti-police University of Arizona student group who harassed and berated two U.S. Border Patrol agents will face criminal charges for disrupting a meeting.
Cell phone footage of the March 19 incident quickly went viral.
University of Arizona President Robert Robbins announced the pending charges in a letter to the campus community on March 29.
Robbins said that the incident was a “dramatic departure” from the university’s support of free speech and its “expectations of respectful behavior,” and noted that the school stands by its relationship with the CBP.
“University police determined today they will be charging two of the students with interference with the peaceful conduct of an educational institution, a misdemeanor,” he wrote.
“The student club and the CBP officers invited by the students should have been able to hold their meeting without disruption,” Robbins added. “Student protest is protected by our support for free speech, but disruption is not.”
Campus police are continuing to investigate the incident for other potential criminal violations, and are also looking into the actions of school employees, Robbins said.
The identities of the students have not been released.
They face up to six months in jail if they are convicted, The Arizona Republic reported.
In a statement on Monday, the campus’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students argued that Border Patrol agents’ presence at the university “was and will always be an infringement” on their “right to pursue an education.”
They said that the students who heckled and berated the agents should be “applauded and admired,” and claimed they “decided to bravely stand up and be vocal about the threat [CBP] presence creates.”
The DACA student group blasted the Border Patrol for encouraging university officials to investigate the incident.
“This agency not only terrorizes our communities…but also actively works to silence students who speak out,” the group’s statement read.
They argued that the charges against the two students who harassed the agents was nothing more than additional proof of the “swiftness with which institutions criminalize people of color.”
The confrontation occurred during an event hosted by the university’s Criminal Justice Association, according to The Daily Wire.
As the two border patrol agents gave their presentation at the front of a classroom, anti-police students interrupted from outside the doorway, cell phone videos showed.
“I don’t know who allowed the murder patrol murderers into campus,” the student behind the camera said, zooming in on the agents through the partially opened door. “I pay to be here, and they allow murderers to be on campus, where I pay to be here.”
“Murderers! On campus!” she said more loudly, drawing the attention of one of the agents. “Murders on campus!”
The agent ignored her, but the belligerent student pressed on and stepped inside the classroom.
“This is supposed to be a safe space for students, but they allow an extension of the KKK into campus,” she persisted. “Murder patrol is here on campus.”
The student then told the agents that they should tell students about “splashing water” and “taking the shoes off of migrants, letting them walk through the desert barefoot.”
“How ‘bout you talk about all the graves of unidentified folks?” she added. “There are students that pay to be here that need this to be a safe space for them, and we have the KKK and their supporters right here at the U of A.”
The agents paid no attention to the heckling, but another student finally intervened.
“You’re welcome to sit in,” she said, before the disruptive student interrupted her.
“Great! I can sit in, [but] the entire time I’ll just be saying that they’re murderers the entire f–king time,” she retorted. “Because it’s the truth.”
She then began lecturing the criminal justice students about being insensitive to her anti-police beliefs.
“You as a club should be more conscious of the rest of the students on this campus, and the students that need to be safe on this campus, and maybe find a meeting place outside,” the student argued.
That’s when the criminal justice students finally had enough, and one of them called the police.
“Oh, of course!” the heckling student jabbed. “White woman calling the police! White woman calling the police!”
A second video showed the agents as they gathered their belongings and shook hands with students.
“Murder patrol!” the group of anti-police students outside the classroom began chanting.
The crowd followed the silent agents as they left the building, relentless in their chant.
“Get off our campus!” one student screamed.
“You’re not welcome here!” they yelled, as they surrounded the agents’ vehicle.
The video also showed a second group of people who were protesting the agents’ visit to the campus, The Blaze reported.
“Police, ICE, the same s–t twice!” the crowd yelled, before returning to their “murder patrol” chant.
The university’s College Republicans denounced the anti-police display in a statement to The Daily Wire, and said that the entire situation was “appalling.”
“As fellow Americans, we fully support the first amendment right given to all US citizens, but there comes a point where it’s harassment rather than an open dialogue with opposing views,” students Cassandra Bauserman and Matthew Minor said. “The incident towards the two border patrol agents was disrespectful and disruptive to an educational meeting about Border Patrol.”
They noted that the school is just 70 miles away from the U.S. border with Mexico, and that border security is an important topic.
“As College Republicans, being able to have an open dialogue is extremely important to us between people of different views as we want to talk about difficult issues especially as the 2020 election is approaching,” Bauserman and Minor said. “However, the behavior reflected in the video is something we discourage as we are all residents of the United States.”
But the College Republicans’ views were not shared by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, who argued that “the presence of uniformed USBP agents on our campus, especially without warning was, is, and always will be immensely harmful to our DACA and undocumented community.”
The student group asserted that having agents at the school without prior warning traumatizes students and creates a negative environment.
“Simply put, unannounced visits by the U.S. Border Patrol are unacceptable,” the group declared. “We want to stress the importance of notifying students, especially our DACA and undocumented students, in advance of visits by USBP.”
The Associated Students demanded that the university alter the school’s policy and procedure to “better support our students,” and thanked students who have “raised their voices” in defense of the illegal immigrants on campus.
“Every single UA student, faculty, and staff deserves and has the right to feel safe within our campus community,” the student group said.
You can watch cell phone footage of the agents’ encounter with the anti-police group in the videos below: