LANSING – Three Michigan State University police officers and one state trooper were injured Monday during a raucous protest outside white nationalist Richard Spencer’s speech that resulted in 25 arrests, according to a police spokesman.
MSU Police Capt. Doug Monette described the injuries as “minor” but did not elaborate. The demonstration turned violent when a group of Spencer supporters attempted to march through an estimated 500 protesters, prompting pushing, shoving and punches.
Of the 25 people arrested Monday, MSU police said 13 face potential felony charges for crimes such as carrying a concealed weapon, resisting police and obstructing officers. All criminal reports will be sent to the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office for review, according to the department.
Protest organizers with “Stop Richard Spencer at MSU” said more than 20 individuals from their “side” were arrested Monday. They’ve started a donation page to raise funds for bail.
MSU initially refused to rent space to Spencer for the speech, citing public safety concerns in the wake of a violent rally last fall in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one woman was killed by a man drove his car into a crowd of protesters.
The university eventually let Spencer speak at the remote agricultural pavilion during spring break as part of a settlement with Spencer associate Cameron Padgett, who had sued for access and was later required to pay a $1,600 rental fee and obtain a minimum of $1 million in liability insurance for the event.
MSU was expected to pay for and arrange for a police presence at the event, follow the university’s “dissent and disruption policy” and control entry and security at the venue.
Spencer is president of National Policy Institute, listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.
According to the Huffpost, Spencer stood in a largely empty auditorium often used for livestock auctions, speaking to just 30 or 40 people, despite claiming to having issued 150 tickets for the event. He blamed the unrest outside for the paltry attendance. A livestream camera focused tightly on him, never panning out across the small crowd.
He rambled on about wanting to create ethno-states and “re-immigrating” people back to their homelands. This (undoubtedly violent) vision of ethnic cleansing would involve creating an ethnostate for “African-Americans who can not simply go back to Africa,” Spencer said.
After talking for over an hour, he and the white other white nationalists left the auditorium.