Counterprotester charged with disorderly conduct

Posted on Feb 25 2019 - 5:50am by Hadley Hitson

The University Police Department arrested Sam Abel, who was protesting against the Confederate groups on campus Saturday. UPD charged Abel with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

“No one was injured,” UPD Chief Ray Hawkins said. “We had one situation where we had to make an arrest of someone who failed to comply with directions that we were giving them, but that was the only reported incident that we had.”

Photo by Christian Johnson

Abel, who is not a student at the University of Mississippi, was transported to the Lafayette County Detention Center on a bond of $689, according to officials at the detention center.

“One member of the group refused to comply with repeated requests to move across the street, so UPD officers initiated an arrest,” Rod Guajardo, a university spokesperson, said. “The suspect was charged with disorderly conduct failure to comply, a misdemeanor charge.”

Abel posted bond and is no longer in the custody of law enforcement.

On Saturday around 2 p.m., a group of counterprotesters attempted to block off the sidewalk that the pro-Confederate activists were marching down at the University Avenue bridge above Gertrude Ford Boulevard. UPD officers allegedly asked the group to move to the other sidewalk in order to avoid direct conflict between the protesters and counterprotesters.

Three other counterprotesters who were blocking the sidewalk with Abel said as they began to walk across the street, they saw Abel lying facedown on the ground, surrounded by police officers.

The three said their goal was to stand in the way of supporters of the Confederacy, hatred and violence on campus.

Ted Helmhout, a senior integrated marketing communications major, was on the opposite side of the sidewalk when Abel was arrested. He was present on campus to witness the events but said he was not participating in either demonstration.

University Police Department Police Chief Ray Hawkins along with other UPD officers arrest a counter protester in front of the Grove on Saturday during a demonstration by pro-Confederate groups. Photo by Christian Johnson

Helmhout said he saw several UPD officers lifting Abel off of the ground by her ankles and shoulders. Helmhout said Abel was not fighting the police.


Check out our full coverage of the weekend protests here.