An Adjunct Law Professor from the University of Oregon has been removed from teaching responsibilities after a confrontation with students that was partially filmed. James Olmsted had a confrontation with students protesting immigration policies on March 14th in which he and students exchange foul language and at one point Olmsted advises them to “start a war, get a gun, shoot me first.”
Both sides are shown getting increasingly irate and the videocamera is turned on and off at points. At one point, Olmstead is shown shoving a man and saying “Get away from my space, you prick.” At one point, Olmstead says “I’m part of your performance. You need a protagonist.”
Apparently not. Olmstead, 58, was arrested after the outburst and charged with theft, harassment and intimidation. I am a bit uneasy with the intimidation and harassment charges in a protest situation since Olmstead was exercising his free speech rights. However, he does shove students and grab at the camera when the students are in their rights to film him. Olmstead is shown yelling “If you want this country back, start a f— war and take it back.” I would have still preferred for police to diffuse the situation without criminal charges. However, the theft charge relates to the taking of a cellphone and it is not clear if this was returned or retained by Olmstead.
Olmstead is clearly out of line in his tone and language and physical conduct. The students overall sound much more reasoned and Olmstead himself seems to fluctuate between reason and rage.
Olmstead is a law graduate from the University of California at Davis and is admitted to practice law in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. He taught land-use in the university’s School of Law Environmental and Natural Resources.
Source: ABA Journal