Senate Bill 4 protest sends one student to hospital, one arrested

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Latin American studies graduate student Eric Nava-Perez was arrested on charges of assault and bodily injury.

Update (9/4): 

University of Texas Police arrested a protester on charges of assault and bodily injury at 11:45 a.m. Friday after a Daily Texan reporter was hit, drawing blood and requiring stitches for the injury.

The protester was Latin American studies graduate student Eric Nava-Perez, who joined fellow students Friday morning to protest anti-sanctuary city legislation and support immigrant rights. Journalism sophomore Chase Karacostas was covering the protest when he was struck at around 11:30 a.m., just as the protesters began marching to the Texas Capitol.

Police arrested Nava-Perez on Speedway in front of the Blanton Museum. University spokeswoman Cindy Posey said Nava-Perez was booked into the Travis County Jail shortly after.

Roughly 25 protesters gathered that morning in opposition of Senate Bill 4, a piece of Texas legislation requiring cities to comply with federal immigration authorities and authorizing local law enforcement to question a person’s immigration status during routine stops. A federal judge temporarily blocked the legislation last week.

Many of the protesters were not immediately aware any violence had taken place. After Nava-Perez was escorted from the scene, they chanted, “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?” and “No justice, no peace, no racist police.”

“I feel really upset about Eric’s arrest,” said Ashley Theissen, events organizer for the College of Natural Sciences. “We were not being disruptive at all, it seemed wrong.”

Later in the day, a crowd of about 22 assembled around the Travis County Jail to call for Nava-Perez’s release. Most said they could not recall Nava-Perez assaulting anyone and that he was being detained unfairly.

Nava-Perez is a member of the student group Sanctuary UT and played a role in organizing the protest that day.

Though the protest was led by students, non-students such as Theissen participated as well. She said she took a day off of work to join the students on their march to the Capitol.

“I just felt like it’s not safe for students out on campus if we don’t show that that kind of law isn’t welcome,” Theissen said. “As a staff member I feel like it’s my responsibility.”

Students from a variety of social justice campus organizations participated in the event. But business freshman Liliana Palacios said she marched for personal reasons.

“Since I am a first-generation Mexican-American, this is something that is very close to me,” Palacios said. “I think that it’s right for us to unify and fight for our rights.”

Electrical engineering sophomore Stuart Lyons stopped by the protest on West Mall Friday morning and said he had difficulty communicating with the demonstrators. He said he disagreed with a lot of what they were chanting.

“I have asked three different people now what their views are, and three of them have left me because they don’t have time,” Lyons said. “They say they’re open-minded, they say they want to learn … and that (proves) that they’re not.”

Kris Donaldson, a community and regional planning graduate student, marched with the protesters and said even though the bill was postponed, it is still important to speak out.

“A lot of the jurisdiction going on in Texas and the country is thinly veiled — it’s supposed to keep the people with power having power,” Donaldson said. “Equality is scary to the status quo.”

Original:

University of Texas Police arrested a protester on charges of assault and bodily injury at 11:45 Friday morning after a Daily Texan reporter was hit, drawing blood and requiring stitches for the injury.

The protester, Latin American studies graduate student Eric Nava-Perez, was part of a student group protesting anti-sanctuary city legislation and supporting immigrant rights. Police arrested him on Speedway in front of the Blanton Museum 15 minutes after the incident.

University spokeswoman Cindy Posey said Nava-Perez has been booked into the Travis County jail.

Students gathered in West Mall on Friday morning to protest Senate Bill 4, a piece of Texas legislation requiring cities to comply with federal immigration authorities and authorizing local law enforcement to question a person’s immigration status during routine stops. A federal judge temporarily blocked the legislation on Wednesday night.

Fifteen minutes after the incident occurred, Nava-Perez was arrested while marching to the Texas Capitol building with roughly 25 other student protesters.

Many of the protesters did not know any violence had taken place. After Nava-Perez was escorted from the scene, protesters chanted, “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?” and “No justice, no peace, no racist police.”

“I feel really upset about Eric’s arrest,” said Ashley Theissen, events organizer for the College of Natural Sciences. “We were not being disruptive at all, it seemed wrong.”

A crowd of roughly 20 protesters gathered around the Travis County Jail later in the afternoon to call for Nava-Perez’s release.

Theissen said she took a day off work to join the students protesting.

“I just felt like it’s not safe for students out on campus if we don't show that that kind of law isn’t welcome,” Theissen said. “As a staff member I feel like it’s my responsibility.”

Students from social justice campus organizations such as Sanctuary UT and Solidarity 6.04 attended the event, as well as unaffiliated students who joined for personal reasons.

Business freshman Liliana Palacios said she marched to fight for the rights of immigrants.

“Since I am a first-generation Mexican-American, this is something that is very close to me,” Palacios said. “I think that it’s right for us to unify and fight for our rights.”

Electrical engineering sophomore Stuart Lyons stopped by the protest on West Mall this morning and said he had difficulty communicating with the demonstrators. He said he disagreed with a lot of what they were chanting.

“I have asked three different people now what their views are and three of them have left me because they don’t have time,” Lyons said. “They say they’re open-minded, they say they want to learn … and that (proves) that they’re not.”

Kris Donaldson, a community and regional planning graduate student, marched with the protesters and said even though the bill was postponed it is still important to speak out.

“A lot of the jurisdiction going on in Texas and the country is thinly veiled — it’s supposed to keep the people with power having power,” Donaldson said. “Equality is scary to the status quo.”