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Kaitlin Bennett: Crowd of protesters surround 'Kent State Gun Girl' during visit to Ohio University

Posted: 9:35 AM, Feb 18, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-18 13:25:52-05
Kaitlin Bennett: Crowd of protesters surround 'Kent State Gun Girl' during visit to Ohio University

ATHENS, Ohio — Kaitlin Bennett, known by many online as the "Kent State Gun Girl," encountered a crowd of protesters when she made an unexpected visit to Ohio University on Monday.

Bennett, who has become a conservative activist since a tweet of her carrying a rifle during her 2018 graduation ceremony at Kent State went viral, was on campus to shoot a video for her blog, Liberty Hangout. However, her plans to shoot a video quickly went awry as a crowd of protesters appeared around her.

Bennett and her colleagues eventually made her way through the student union and back to their pickup truck, and students followed. As the group drove away, the video shows students yelling expletives and throwing drinks at the truck.

Warning: The video below contains explicit language.

According to the Ohio University Police Department (OUPD), no one was injured in the incident. The department also disputed claims that the incident rose to the level of a "riot."

"Contrary to allegations circulating on social media, the incident did not rise to the level of a riot," the OUPD said in a statement. "There was strong language, and the allegations that some unknown person(s) in the crowd splashed water, but there were no reported injuries or violence, and not one was arrested during the event."

Bennett disputed the OUPD's account of a lack of violence, claiming a cup of hot coffee was poured on her during her visit.

Bennett also claimed that the OUPD allowed the students to put her safety in danger. According to OUPD's statement, the department did not have prior notice that Bennett would be on campus.

"It should be noted that the police department received no prior notice of the activist's plans. Although such notice is not required, the lack of it deprived the department of the ability to plan staffing levels. As a result, the offices on duty had to prioritize their response to the events as they unfolded, rightfully putting everyone's personal safety ahead of all other concerns."

Following the incident, Bennett called on President Donald Trump to stop funding universities that "harbor terrorists."

A number of conservative activists responded to Bennett's video after the clips went viral on Monday, calling for civility and the inclusion of consevrative ideals on college campuses.

In addition to her blog, Bennett has also contributed to InfoWars, a far-right conspiracy site known for peddling disinformation.

"Ohio University is committed to fostering an atmosphere that allows the free and peaceful exchange of diverse thoughts and ideas," Carly Leatherwood, an OU spokesperson, told The Athens News. "The university urges its community to respect the rights guaranteed to all under the state and federal constitutions."

This story was originally published by Courtney Shaw on WEWS in Cleveland.