Protesters confront each other at UCLA
Protesters confront each other at UCLAREUTERS/David Swanson

The police chief at the University of California, Los Angeles, has been reassigned following criticism over his handling of recent campus demonstrations that included a mob attacking a pro-Palestinian Arab encampment, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

Chief John Thomas was temporarily reassigned Tuesday “pending an examination of our security processes,” said Mary Osako, UCLA vice chancellor for strategic communications, in a statement released Wednesday.

The Daily Bruin reported late Tuesday that Thomas said in a text to the campus newspaper, “There’s been a lot going on and, I learned late yesterday that I’m temporarily reassigned from my duties as chief.”

Neither Osako nor Thomas identified his reassigned role.

The reassignment of Thomas follows UCLA’s May 5 announcement of the creation of a new chief safety officer position to oversee campus security operations.

Sporadic disruptions continued following the dismantling of a pro-Palestinian Arab encampment and some 200 arrests on April 30.

Several days later, the LAPD and California Highway Patrol once again cleared the pro-Palestinian Arab encampment, arresting 132 protesters.

The UCLA encampment is one of many pro-Palestinian Arab encampents which have been set up at campuses across the US in recent weeks, as protests against the war in Gaza intensify.

Some of the anti-Israel encampments at universities have been taken down by police officers, while others have been cleared voluntarily following agreements with the administrations.

On Tuesday, police broke up a pro-Palestinian Arab encampment at the University of Michigan, arresting at least four people.

Last week, anti-Israel protesters were voluntarily taking down their tents in Harvard Yard, after university officials agreed to discuss their questions about the endowment.

Later, the Los Angeles Police Department removed a pro-Palestinian Arab encampment at the University of Southern California, pushing several dozen people out of the campus gates.