Posted on March 19, 2013

Law Professor’s Bizarre Tirade Against Student Protesters After They Set up Mock-Immigration Checkpoint

Beth Stebner, Daily Mail (London), March 19, 2013

A legal professor has found himself on the other side of the law after he was arrested and following a bizarre tirade against students.

Adjunct University of Oregon professor James L. Olmsted was captured on video engaging with students holding a pro-immigration demonstration, pushing them, and pocketing one of the student’s phones.

During his six-minute profanity-laced outburst, he chastised the students, saying: ‘If you want this country back, start a f****** war. Get a gun, shoot me first, I’m right here.’

In the video, which was uploaded by a student, Olmsted is seen confronting a group of students from the Students Against Imperialism group had put up a mock-border and were stopping passers-by to alert them of issues at the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as the Palestinian border.

At the beginning of the video, Olmsted can be seen approaching the students and telling them while their efforts are well-intentioned, no real change would come from four or five students making a mock checkpoint. 

‘Start a f****** war… stop being p******!’ he shouts to the group of students during the March 14 incident. ‘Do something!

‘To make something happen, you need lots of people in action, and get hurt,’ he continued, referring to when Native Americans ‘took over Alcatraz. Very brave.’

The group Indians of All Tribes (AIT) occupied the prison in San Francisco Bay from 1969 to 1971.

Olmsted can then be seen removing his leather motorcycle jacket and aggressively challenging a male student.

‘What do you want to talk about?’ he asks, removing his glasses and throwing them to the sidewalk.

The young woman recording the incident, Diana Salazar, says at one point: ‘This is an aggressive tone. I’m feeling a little threatened right now.’

Ms Salazar was pushed out of the way when Olmsted reached for his glasses.

The faculty member then grabs the woman’s phone, though several more minutes of audio can be heard with students saying they feel threatened in the emotionally-charged environment.

As The Oregonian reports, Olmsted, 58, was arrested and charged with two counts of physical intimidation and second-degree theft.

He was also given a letter of trespass, which means he is not allowed to enter the campus for at least 18 months.

University spokesman Phil Weiler told the paper that the teaching responsibilities of Olmsted, an adjunct professor, have been reassigned to another faculty member.

Ms Salazar, the group’s co-founder, told student newspaper the Daily Emerald that they were prepared for controversy, but not for a ranting professor.

She also said that while there has been support from the University of Oregon faculty and staff, the group has also been accused of provoking the law professor.

Olmsted’s attorney, Mike Arnold, told the student paper that not every vantage point of the story has been told.

‘Even with the ability to record parts of a situation with audio and video, you’re still going to have huge gaps in the story,’ he said, adding that there are legal issues under Oregon state law over concealed recording devices.

Students Against Imperialism’s other co-founder, Jaki Salgado, told the Daily Emerald: ‘We never expected anyone to come up to the group and be so blatantly racist.’