Students arrested after 'heated' MAGA hat dispute during protest, police say

Elise Solé
Four students at Texas State University were arrested during a protest that turned violent. (Photo: Facebook/Texas State University)

Texas State University students protesting an alleged white supremacy group were arrested for in-fighting.

On Wednesday, students at the San Marcos school assembled on the Quad to protest an external group called Texas Nomads SAR, whose Facebook mission statement reads, “…We believe our veterans and warriors should come before refugees and illegal criminals...”

On Twitter, people say the group is “dangerous,” “violent” and “racist.”

The group’s vice president Christopher Ritchie tells Yahoo Lifestyle that his group planned to protest at the university when the student government banned the conservative group Turning Point USA in April, although the two organizations aren’t affiliated.

“Two of our members were going to come to campus and walk a pre-planned route of two miles carrying Trump flags and talking with anyone willing, about free speech,” he says. “We decided to cancel because of the backlash and targeted hatred against students for their political beliefs. We felt it might do more harm than good.”

Ritchie adds, "We are not white nationalists as the left says."

However, Texas State’s Student Government tweeted that the Nomads had rescheduled for May 1. “Please continue to be vigilant and stay safe. As information becomes available we will keep you informed. Report any criminal activity to UPD 911.”

The Texas State University Police Department also increased its on-campus presence, cautioning on Facebook for students to stay safe.

On Wednesday, violence ensued on campus. A spokesperson from Texas State University provided a statement to Yahoo Lifestyle:

“On May 1 some students gathered on the Quad of the Texas State University San Marcos campus in anticipation of a planned demonstration by an outside group. To the university’s knowledge, no outside groups were on campus, but some students engaged in a heated discussion which unfortunately escalated into a physical altercation between two students. The incident resulted in four students being arrested on various charges:

  • Tyvonte Davis-Williams, DOB 08/01997, disorderly conduct-language

  • Alejandra Navarrete, DOB 09/12/1997, Failure to identify; Providing false information

  • Nazarene Freeman, DOB 08/28/1999, Interference with public duties; Failure to identify

  • Claudia Gasponi, DOB 06/14/1995, Resisting arrest, search or transportation; Interference with public duties.”

The students were detained in the nearby Hays County jail and will be arraigned.

Police officers made arrests when a student knocked a hat off another student’s head, says a press release sent to Yahoo Lifestyle from Police Chief Laurie Clouse,

A man named Tyler M. told the conservative website Campus Reform that his “Make America Great Again” hat was knocked off his head, as seen in a YouTube video.

"[N]one of our conservative people were ever instigating anything. I only held her [backpack] for a good five seconds...it was never her physically. As soon as I got out of the crowd, I let go of her bag and I came up beside her and I said, 'can you please give me back my hat?'"

Yahoo Lifestyle could not reach the four suspects for comment.

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