Campus Reform | Suspect in Michael Knowles UMKC assault identified, faces multiple charges

Suspect in Michael Knowles UMKC assault identified, faces multiple charges

Knowles was speaking at the University of Missouri-Kansas City when it happened.

Police arrested one person Thursday after the individual threw a mysterious substance on conservative commentator Michael Knowles.

Police arrested a protester at the University of Missouri-Kansas City after he doused conservative commentator Michael Knowles in a substance "designed to smell like bleach" during a campus speaking engagement. 

Knowles, a Daily Wire columnist, was invited to speak at UMKC as a guest of both the university’s Young America’s Foundation and College Republicans chapters. The speech, titled “Men are Not Women,” drew a crowd of protesters, many of whom were escorted out of the room. 

Video published by student newspaper UMKC University News shows two officers struggling to handcuff one protester who allegedly threw the mysterious substance on Knowles, a photo of which Knowles tweeted out. On Friday, UMKC identified the individual who was arrested as UMKC student Gerard G. Dabu. Dabu has been charged with assault, peaceful disturbance, assault on law enforcement, property damage, and resisting arrest. Dabu was released on bond. 

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“He got me a bit in the face and on the side. At first I thought it was paint because of the color and smell. Later found out it was bleach. These are the people conservatives on campus are up against." Knowles said, before finding out that the substance was an “unknown odorous liquid.”

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“Appears the attacker was a hoaxer who was fine getting charged with assault but wanted to avoid a felony,” Knowles added

Knowles later responded further to the incident in a statement to The Daily Wire, saying “The topic of my lecture was 'Men Are Not Women.'" 

"Apparently, this plain fact was so offensive to some leftist thugs that one of them decided to shoot me in the face and side with a super soaker full of what appeared to be glitter-colored bleach.” “This is the kind of violence conservatives on campus stand to face if they state plain facts and refuse to kowtow to leftist fantasy,” Knowles added

UMKC responded to the incident in a tweet, saying, "we have a responsibility to allow free speech, but we cannot condone physical disruptions of peaceful activities. We believe free speech can be exercised constructively in a way that doesn’t put people at risk. We are gathering facts and will review campus policies & procedures."

UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal issued the following statement Friday regarding the incident. 

A student group brought a speaker to campus – a speaker whose professed opinions do not align with our commitment to diversity and inclusion and our goal of providing a welcoming environment to all people, particularly to our LGBT community.

Upon learning of this speaker’s visit, members of our UMKC community responded in the best way – by organizing and conducting a counter-event across campus Thursday afternoon focused on positive messages about diversity and inclusion. And even during the speech, some peaceful protesters stood and expressed disagreement with the speaker’s views.

Then, unfortunately, some others crossed a line. UMKC must maintain a safe environment in which all points of view, even extreme ones, are allowed to be heard.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan