PoliZette

‘Blue Lives Don’t Matter’ to UC Irvine Protesters

BLM-inspired students in California attempt to silence dialogue on police-community relations

Protesters with the Black Student Union at the University of California, Irvine, held up signs saying “Blue Lives Don’t Matter,” “Police Kill the Mentally Ill,” and “F**k the Police” as they called for the complete abolishment of the UC Irvine Police Department Friday.

The Black Lives Matter-fueled protest was held to counter a symposium UC Irvine held Friday called “Race & Policing.” The symposium, which featured Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck, sought to bring scholars, experts, and students together to “define the problem, identify challenges, and discuss possible solutions to this persistent issue.”

“This protest was misguided and ignorant in every sense of the word.”

But the Black Student Union on campus was not interested in discussing any “possible solutions.” Instead, they called for a campus ban on the UC Irvine Police Department and demanded that the LAPD immediately fire Beck for “police brutality.”

“Rise up, resist, put those killer cops in jail, the whole damn system is guilty as hell,” the protesters chanted in a video of the event obtained by Campus Reform.

The protest’s Facebook page also included an advertisement for T-shirts and hoodies emblazoned with the words “F**k the police” for attendees to sport proudly.

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“This protest was misguided and ignorant in every sense of the word,” Robert Petrosyan, chairman emeritus of the UCI College Republicans, told Campus Reform. “The Black Student Union protested an event held in response to their own concern about police brutality, and provided a real opportunity for direct dialogue with the police. However, what this event demonstrated was that dialogue was not what they wanted.”

The Black Student Union made it abundantly clear that it did not wish to dialogue with students, scholars, and experts about how to address and rebuild the African-American community’s relationship with the police force. The protesters reportedly responded with “anger and hateful chants” when Petrosyan and other bystanders attempted to engage with them in meaningful discussion.

“College Republicans heard that Black Lives Matter was going to be protesting the LAPD chief speaking at UC Irvine with the goal of abolishing the police and we came out to show that Blue Lives Matter too,” Ariana Rowlands, the head of the university’s College Republicans, claimed on her Facebook page. “We were assaulted, I was cut and pushed, they destroyed all of our signs but two, but we still felt it was important to show the other side of the discussion and stand up for rational discourse, civility, and law and order.”

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The Black Student Union’s protest comes in the middle of an increasingly hostile national climate for police officers.

Two officers were shot Saturday in Palm Springs, California, after responding to a call by a suspect who reportedly wished to shoot police officers.

Petrosyan slammed UC Irvine’s Black Student Union protesters for refusing to attend the symposium and engage in productive dialogue.

“They openly advocate to ban the police at UC Irvine, despite the fact that there was no case of police brutality on campus that they could point to, and they perpetuate myths of the Black Lives Matter movement that only lead to more trouble for those living in those neighborhoods,” Petrosyan told Campus Reform. “Black Lives do matter, as do Blue Lives and all lives. And when people die as a result of riots, looting, or under-policing coming from the Black Lives Matter movement, those lives matter too.”

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PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected].