ISO Columbus is devastated by the violence on the Ohio State University campus this morning. We are hoping for a quick recovery for everyone injured, and our thoughts are with the families and friends of all those who were involved. We know that the horror of an incident like this doesn't end when a suspect is apprehended, because many members of our community will face increased suspicion, policing, and outright hatred as a result. We stand in solidarity with all members of the community likely to be targeted with racist profiling or harassment in the coming days. We will not let this event become a source of hatred and division.
Last night at an anti-Trump rally in the Ohio Union, one of our leading organizers, Tim Adams, was giving a speech to the crowd when he was tackled from behind and knocked down several stairs by a man who had been watching and yelling from the floor above. The crowd acted quickly to restrain the man and protect Tim from further harm, before OSU police moved in and arrested him.
Because there were several individual Trump supporters heckling the crowd throughout the night, because of the nature of the statements the man yelled as he tackled Tim, and, given the reports and experiences of violence and threats of violence from right-wing individuals across the country and at OSU, most witnesses reasonably assumed the assailant was a Trump supporter. Initially, with the information available, Tim felt it was important that white nationalists not be further emboldened by this action and decided to pursue criminal charges in the hopes that it might play some role in protecting movement activists from similar or potentially worse harm in the future.
Since last night, however, we have learned that the man, an OSU student, is not a right-wing activist and was himself upset by the Trump election. We have received further information we will not disclose to protect the man’s privacy, but which has made us confident he should not face charges for the action.
Tim and other ISO members are in the process of reaching out to police, prosecutors, and this student’s family and friends to have charges dropped immediately and to ensure his quick release from jail.
We are relieved to learn that what happened last night was not a further marker of an escalating and emboldened Far Right at Ohio State. From the racist, white-pride propaganda on our own campus last week to the 67% spike in hate crimes against Muslims, including two attacks on Muslim women at nearby University of Michigan, and a scourge of white supremacist vandalism around the country, this political moment is rife with heightened violence against minorities and against anti-racist activists. We are immensely distressed that OSU police officers who have been protecting pro-Trump individuals and groups at several rallies in the last week were unable to stop this attack from taking place, and then that they failed to ask any questions of the attacker that would have influenced the initial decision to press charges.
At this time of such violence and fear, the only real recourse we have is in the coalition of people we can bring together. Determined not to let violence deter him after being attacked last night, Tim returned to the steps a few moments afterward and finished his speech. We are proud to have organizers like Tim alongside us at this difficult political moment. We are happy to say that a medical evaluation last night confirmed that he had suffered no major injuries, though he is obviously sore and shaken. He is currently resting and recovering.
Our only strengths as individuals fighting oppression and exploitation are in our numbers, in our level of organization, and in our commitment to watching out for each other and taking action to protect one another. We appreciate the outpouring of support and solidarity Tim received since last night. We recognize the crushing brutality of this entire political economic system against people of color, the LGBTQ community, the working class and poor, and the disabled. Please continue to join us as we fight for a better world!
For news coverage of the event:
Assaulted as he spoke out against Trump by Nicole Colson on SocialistWorker.org
Corporate media glosses over politics in assault of anti-Trump protester by Steve Palm-Houser on ColumbusFreePress.com