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Confederate Protestors Bring Gun to UNC Campus, Police Don’t Arrest

Confused about jurisdiction, UNC police did not arrest or charge the Confederate protestors who had a gun and other weapons in plain sight on campus.

Confederate Protestors Bring Gun to UNC Campus, Police Don’t Arrest

The pro-monument and anti-racist groups have been clashing since the Silent Sam statue was torn down in August.

Faculty and students at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill say interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and campus police mishandled an incident where Silent Sam protestors brought a gun and other weapons to campus.

On March 16, people who identify as “Confederates,” or pro-monument protestors, had the weapons in plain sight on campus, reports the News Observer.

Although it is a felony to carry a firearm and a misdemeanor to carry a knife or other weapon onto any UNC Campus, no charges were filed.

The school later said that UNC police were confused if they had jurisdiction over the man with the handgun so they asked him to leave instead of arresting him.

Both faculty and student-led groups say campus police have been sympathetic to the Confederates, including those who have threatened violence against student activists on social media.

They say that student protestors who identify as “anti-racist” have been tackled and pepper-sprayed by police for alleged misbehavior during interactions with Confederates on campus.

Confederates and anti-racists have clashed several times since last August, when anti-racists pulled the Confederate statue known as “Silent Sam,” to the ground.

A report released in February by the UNC System described the university officers who were on the campus as “insufficiently trained” in crowd control.

Since the statue’s teardown, the two groups have argued for and against its return to campus.

A faculty-staff group, which tweets under “Unsafe at UNC,” is demanding an anonymous, open letter, that police who were involved during the March 16 incident be “immediately placed on unpaid leave while an independent investigation is conducted into their actions, including analyzing their own relationships to white supremacist organizations.”

A student group called Defend UNC is urging the chancellor to “call for the immediate disarmament or disbandment of UNC Campus Police.”

Both groups have criticized the chancellor’s handling of the incident, after he praised the police saying, “they prevented the situation from escalating.”

“To be clear, weapons, especially guns and the threat they convey even when holstered, have no place here and will not be tolerated,” Guskiewicz said. “In the future, those found with a weapon on campus will be arrested and issued a warning of trespass.”

Guskiewsicz also said he would convene a campus safety commission “to look at all aspects of community safety, including building relationships with campus police.”

He also plans to meet with campus groups to discuss ideas on how to eliminate racism and inequality on campus.

Lastly, Guskiewsicz will be ordering a review of the incident and have a team review “all significant campus police actions and major emergency management and public safety events in the future.”

About the Author

Katie Malafronte
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Katie Malafronte is Campus Safety's Web Editor. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Writing & Rhetoric. Katie has been CS's Web Editor since 2018.

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4 responses to “Confederate Protestors Bring Gun to UNC Campus, Police Don’t Arrest”

  1. Dan says:

    Not sure if they had jurisdiction over a felony being committed in their presence? Really, thats the excuse? Call a freaking supervisor.

  2. Spencer Uhl says:

    You should have accurately reported what happened.
    From the News & observer
    “The school said later that UNC police were confused at the time as to whether they had jurisdiction over the man with the handgun because he was on the right of way of a Chapel Hill city street that runs through campus.”
    The protesters were on the city street that runs through campus. Does the law allow people with firearms to traverse a city street while armed? Does state law say that the city (public) street is part of the campus or belongs to the city and falls under state law for possession of a firearm? I can see why the campus police would question it. I also see where a person could look at the law and determine they weren’t breaking a state law while on the city street.

  3. Charles S. says:

    “anti-racists”

    Really? This is how Antifa is being labeled now? Is it because several states and federal agencies have labeled Antifa as domestic terrorists for their past actions, and that’s problematic? These racist groups are a tiny fraction of the population, with no real power. If the “anti-racists” would let them hold their protests or rallies and do what the rest of us do (i.e. ignore them), there wouldn’t be an issue and they would disappear back under their rock.

  4. Bruno E. says:

    Hmmm, really? They were in front of Memorial Hall, right in the middle of campus. Open carry is prohibited on campus, and this is consistent with the general provisions of the NC Statute. Now, if the police got cold feet… and were OK not doing anything for a whole hour because these were not young black kids, that’s another matter.

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