4 Charged With Resisting and Assaulting Police in November Protest at University of Michigan

The University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images/TNS, File)

DETROIT (The Detroit News/TNS) — The Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office charged four people with resisting, obstructing and assaulting police following a protest at the University of Michigan last fall related to Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza.

Prosecutors accused the suspects, whose names weren’t released, of making “sustained physical contact with officers in an attempt to dislodge them from their positions — in some cases for minutes,” during a campus demonstration at the Ruthven Administration Building on Nov. 17, according to a statement released Thursday by the Prosecutor’s Office.

All were charged with resisting/obstructing/assaulting a law enforcement officer. 

More than 250 protesters made up of students from more than 54 organizations swarmed the university’s administration building, where President Santa Ono’s office and the university’s central administrative operations are located, around 4:00 p.m. that day and urged the school to divest from companies that fund military operations in Israel amid its war in Gaza.

“As our decisions reflect, we respect — & give wide berth to — peaceful protest. Assaultive behavior, however, crosses the line and must be charged,” Prosecutor Eli Savit said on X, formerly Twitter.

He did not immediately respond to request for comment Thursday evening about why the names of those charged were not released to the public.

The charges followed an investigation and video analysis by police, the Prosecutor’s Office said.

Prosecutors charged:

— A 59-year-old man with attempted taking of a weapon from an officer after he allegedly grabbed an officer’s baton

— A 22-year-old man allegedly for using his full body weight in an attempt to gain access to the building and pushing into an officer “for more than 30 seconds until that officer yielded his position.” He also is accused of throwing his elbow at the officer while inside the building

— A 22-year-old man allegedly for repeatedly pushing officers into a doorway and fighting them for several minutes

— A 25-year-old man allegedly for repeatedly pushing officers. Prosecutors said he lowered his shoulder and charged at an officer in an attempt to dislodge him from his position

Police at the time said 40 arrests were made and two injuries to officers were reported. Those arrested were processed and released at the scene, and the building was emptied and secured by around 10:30 p.m.

Several students were issued trespass citations for entering the building that closed at 5 p.m. after being arrested by police and barred from the building for one year.

“For several hours — well past Ruthven’s closing time — protesters remained in the building. Several dozen protesters engaged in a “sit-in” in President Ono’s office suite,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.

Additional charges were not pursued against sit-in demonstrators because there were “no additional allegations of assaultive or otherwise unlawful behavior,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.

But prosecutors are weighing additional charges amid ongoing police investigations, according to the statement.

“We will consider all evidence that comes in. … relating to assaultive behavior, destruction of property, attempted disarming of police or similar conduct,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.

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