A misdemeanor simple assault charge was filed Monday against a University of Missouri assistant professor who received nationwide attention when she called for “some muscle” to help her remove a student journalist from a protest site on campus in November.
The office of Columbia, Mo., prosecutor Steve Richey said that Melissa Click, who works in Missouri’s communication department, faces a Class C misdemeanor simple assault charge for the incident in which she was filmed having physical contact and berating a student journalist. The student was trying to conduct interviews at a campsite that was set up on the university’s quad by students protesting the treatment of African-Americans by administrators.
The video of the confrontation, which was taken by student journalist Mark Schierbecker and went viral on the Internet, begins with a group of protesters yelling and pushing another student journalist, Tim Tai, who was trying to photograph the campsite. At the end of the video, Schierbecker approaches Click, who calls for “some muscle” to remove him from the protest area. She then appears to grab at Schierbecker’s camera.
Schierbecker filed a simple assault complaint with the campus police department days after the incident.
Richey’s office confirmed that charge has been filed but declined further comment on the charge. If convicted, Click could face up to a $300 fine and 15 days in jail.
The incident occurred as the campus had been embroiled in weeks of protests over school administrators’ handling of a series of a racially charged incidents on campus. Shortly before the confrontation, the state’s university system president, Tim Wolfe, and Missouri chancellor R. Bowen Loft announced their resignations. Click was at the campsite to show her support for the student protesters.
Under fire, Click resigned her courtesy appointment with the journalism school the day after the incident but remains an assistant professor in the university’s Department of Communication.
Earlier this month, more than 100 Missouri Republican lawmakers signed on to letters calling for the firing of Click and another staff member who was captured in the video berating student journalists.
Source: USA Today | Aamer Madhani