SIUE Professor Beaten and Arrested by Police While Filming Student Protest at Washington University

65-year-old professor assaulted by police while filming pro-Palestinian protest at Washington University, highlighting tensions over academic freedom and use of force against peaceful protesters.

Rizwan Shah
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SIUE Professor Beaten and Arrested by Police While Filming Student Protest at Washington University

SIUE Professor Beaten and Arrested by Police While Filming Student Protest at Washington University

Steve Tamari, a 65-year-old history professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), was hospitalized with multiple broken ribs and a fractured hand after being assaulted by police while filming officers arresting students at a pro-Palestinian demonstration at Washington University in St. Louis. Tamari said he was "physically overwhelmed and crushed by the weight of several St. Louis County Police officers and then forcibly removed across campus by the police."

Tamari's wife, Sandra Tamari, who was also arrested at the protest, posted a video showing the incident. She stated that the university used violence against its own students, faculty, staff, and the community to maintain its "involvement in genocide" of Palestinians. The protest was part of a nationwide series of demonstrations on college campuses demanding universities divest from Israel and condemn its ongoing war on the Gaza Strip, where over 34,400 people have been killed.

A total of 100 people were arrested on the Washington University campus, including 23 students and at least four employees. Those arrested are facing criminal charges for trespassing, and some face additional charges for resisting arrest and assault. Three police officers received "significant" injuries during the arrests, according to Washington University Chancellor Andrew Martin.

In a statement, Tamari said he joined the protest to stop the "genocide" in Palestine and support the students. As a result of the police brutality, he is now in the hospital with nine broken ribs, a broken hand, and difficulty breathing. The faculty member who recorded Tamari's arrest was also arrested and suspended from the university.

Why this matters: The incident highlights the escalating tensions and clashes between pro-Palestinian activists and authorities on U.S. college campuses. It also raises concerns about the use of force by police against peaceful protesters and the suppression of free speech and academic freedom at universities.

Six faculty members, including St. Louis Aldermanic President Megan Green, have been barred from Washington University's campus and placed on leave following the protest and arrests. Green denied using her employee card to let unauthorized people into campus buildings during the demonstration. Organizers say over 20 protesters were injured during the police crackdown on the protest calling for the university to divest from Boeing amid Israel's attacks on Gaza.

Key Takeaways

  • A 65-year-old professor was assaulted by police at a pro-Palestinian protest at WashU
  • Professor hospitalized with broken ribs, and hand after being "physically overwhelmed"
  • 100 people arrested, including students and staff, facing criminal charges
  • Tensions escalate between pro-Palestinian activists and authorities on college campuses
  • 6 faculty members were barred from the WashU campus following the protest and arrests