Campus police union blames administration for UCLA’s response to pro-Palestinian protests

The union representing the 10 University of California police departments says UC administrators, not the UCLA police chief, are to blame for UCLA’s response to on-campus protests last week.

In a statement, the Federated University Police Officers Association said the lack of response to violence from pro-Israeli counter-protesters at the UCLA encampment on Tuesday, and subsequent raid on the encampment early Thursday morning, followed the guidelines written by UC administrators.

Officers raid pro-Palestinian protest encampment at USC

”The written guidelines for roles and responsibilities make clear that senior UC administrators on each campus are solely responsible for the University’s response to campus protests; those administrators decide the objective, and campus police are only responsible for tactics in implementing those objectives,” said Wade Stern, President of the FUPOA. “As such, the UCLA administration owns all the fallout from the response and lack of response to this protest.”

Last week, UC President Michael Drake opened an investigation into the UCLA campus police’s response, or lack thereof, to the violence on Tuesday night. About 50 counter-protesters stormed the on-campus encampment and launched fireworks at tents inside.

The attacks were condemned by Jewish groups and Governor Gavin Newsom.

Drake ordered a “detailed accounting from the campus about what transpired” and ordered an “independent review of the university’s planning, its actions and the response by law enforcement.”

Israel orders Al Jazeera to close its local operation and seizes some of its equipment

According to the Los Angeles Times, the probe revolves around UCLA Police Department Chief John Thomas and his alleged lack of a safety plan amid the protests, despite the university’s insistence that he provides one.

The campus police union, however, says the lack of a plan is at the fault of administrators.

“It’s paramount to recognize that when protests erupt on campus, the decisions regarding the response of the UC Police rest firmly in the hands of campus leadership,” the FUPOA statement reads. “They shoulder the accountability for the outcomes stemming from these decisions, not the UC Police Department. It underscores the crucial distinction between operational execution and strategic direction. The campus leadership, not law enforcement, owns the results of their decisions.”

Early in the morning on Thursday, law enforcement agencies from across Los Angeles raided the UCLA encampment in a forceful and violent fashion, resulting in hundreds of arrests of pro-Palestinian protesters. Law enforcement officers, dressed in riot gear, allegedly used rubber bullets and flashbangs as they cleared the encampment around 3 a.m.

Study: The hardest place to save money in America is in Southern California, but it’s not L.A.

Students at other Los Angeles-area college campuses — including University of California, Riverside and University of Southern California — have held rallies and erected encampments in protest of the Israel-Hamas conflict; on April 24, police in riot gear arrested dozens of demonstrators at USC as they dispersed a large pro-Palestinian protest, and three days later, a city-wide tactical alert was issued by LAPD officials due to the disturbances,

Another encampment that had been erected at USC’s Alumni Park last week was taken down early Sunday morning. No arrests were reported.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KTLA.