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Video Shows Ind. State Police Officer Pushing Protester To Ground

An Indiana State Police spokesperson says the uniformed man shown pushing a protester to the ground in a video posted on Facebook is an Indiana State Police officer.

The video, posted on Facebook Thursday, shows the officer pushing a protester to the ground twice during a protest at Indiana University Tuesday.

"This was the second and third time in a row they pushed me down," said IU student Jacob Mills in the Facebook post. Mills has not responded to a request for further comment.

The video also shows the same man pushing another protester who remains standing.

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The video has garnered more than 27,000 views since it was published at around noon Thursday.

Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday for the protest against Charles Murray, a conservative political scientist scheduled to give a lecture at Franklin Hall that night.

The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Murray a white supremacist. Murray's lectures have sparked protests on other college campuses as well.

In a statement, Indiana State Police Sgt. Curt Durnil said he does not know the name of the ISP officer in the video, but that the agency will conduct a standard investigation to identify the officer and review his use of the "defensive tactic."

After the Murray lecture ended, protesters spread out in small groups to stand near each exit. Durnil said police escorted Murray out of a door on the south side of Franklin Hall and placed him in an unmarked state police vehicle, and said a group of protesters surrounded the vehicle and attempted to gain access. Durnil said the officer employs "open-handed palm thrusts" to move the protesters away from the vehicle.

"While the video posted on Facebook fails to show what transpired immediately before or after the movement of people away from the police car, we are grateful this event concluded without the need to arrest any of the protestors who had already crossed the line of infringing on the rights of others present at the event being held in Franklin Hall," Durnil said.

Durnil said it is "reasonable to presume" that the protest could have become violent if not for the police presence. Three police departments were present during the protest: Indiana University Police, Bloomington Police and Indiana State Police, as well as a private security company. Dozens of officers arrived at Franklin Hall two hours prior to the event, sealing off the building. Armed officers from an unknown department stood on the roof of a building across from Franklin with binoculars.

"The appropriate law enforcement presence, and measured response by those officers, helped to guarantee the rights of ALL persons, regardless of their disdain or approval of the free speech of the person who was speaking at Franklin Hall," Durnil said.

Mills and other protesters commenting on the video disagree.

"Indiana University [t]his is you protecting a white supremacist on your campus," Mills said in the Facebook post. "This is your students getting beaten up on a walking path in your most iconic area of campus."

At least one person was briefly detained during the protest, shortly after the events shown in the Facebook video. IU student Stella Shaffer was held inside Franklin Hall while protesters remained outside chanting "Free Stella" and "Let Stella Go." Police released her less than 30 minutes later.

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This post was updated at 8 a.m. on April 14.

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