When a mentally disturbed young Georgia Tech student committed what many are calling “suicide by cop” on the downtown Atlanta campus Saturday night, a Monday evening vigil ended as so many others have ended recently: with violent clashes between protesters and police officers, and a cop car in flames after someone threw a flare.
But there was something different this time at the engineering school plopped smack in the middle of one of Atlanta’s toughest neighborhoods. The students — even a few who had been at the vigil for the dead student Scout Schultz — began showing their support online for the police that protected them.
Schultz, who had reportedly left a few suicide notes, called the police himself and warned them of a suspicious person in the area. When police arrived, the discovered the young man with what they believed to be a knife and repeatedly asked that he drop his weapon and cooperate. He refused and made aggressive movements toward officers and was subsequently shot and killed.
Student vigil attendees two days later apparently told CNN they had had a peaceful, respectful gathering and about 20 minutes after it ended, protesters — who some speculated were members of antifa — began the trouble with police. From CNN:
Attendees at the vigil for Scout Schultz said that gathering ended quietly after less than half an hour, and about 20 minutes later a separate gathering developed with chanting, marching and, ultimately, confrontations at the campus police headquarters.
A campus police car burned after its windshield was smashed, and videos taken by people at the scene showed police handcuffing individuals who had been forced to the ground.
Things could have gone much worse but Georgia Tech has, it seems, little interest in becoming a proving ground for violent protests like its fellow university in California, Berkley.
According to an education blog at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, students began to use online messaging and social media to express support for the campus police and a desire to help clean up campus following the near riot.
A cleanup of the vigil area was initially planned, but it turned out the university had that under control. So, students then planned to set up tables across campus where campus members can write letters and posters to show support for the Georgia Tech Police Department and Scout’s family and friends.
Among the comments on social media are these:
- The protesters on campus right now are primarily NOT Tech students. I was there at the vigil and 20-30 outsiders with signs and drums showed up and started the riot. As they marched to the police station they set off fireworks. This was planned from the outside. Scout’s friends were advocating for changes to mental health policy on campus when the protesters showed up and started chanting about violence against police. Please let people & the media know that this is not us. This is not our community. We are still grieving.
- While it may be difficult to delineate ourselves from the violent protesters, we can do an effective job of coming together as a community of students after a horrific event like this to show that we are united and have nothing but the utmost respect for our campus and brave police officers!
- It sounds like there’s some real jerks making a mess. I’ll be out by 8:30am helping to clean up what I can. I hope everyone who disagrees that violence was appropriate tonight will join me.
- Thinking of getting some donuts or something for the Georgia Tech Police Department.
- Anyone want to wear blue tomorrow in honor of the Georgia Tech Police Department and their actions to keep us safe tonight?
- I will be wearing GT apparel tomorrow in support of the school that I love so dearly, and I encourage you all to do the same. Outsiders who wish to threaten the safety of our students, our faculty, and our police officers have no place in our community.
- By not believing for a second that the protests are Tech. We are Tech.
Students also set up a GoFundMe page to support Georgia Tech police officers that raised nearly $5,000 in 12 hours.
Looks like antifa’s going to have to try a lot harder to bring their juvenile form of anarchy to Atlanta.