University of Utah Police evaluated undercover video of protesters at Ben Shapiro speech; determined no credible threat

Ben Shapiro

Ben Shapiro

SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah is crediting a coordinated, multi-agency approach to security for ensuring that conservative commentator Ben Shapiro’s speech on campus was largely peaceful.

Approximately 400 people listened to Shapiro’s remarks inside the Social and Behavioral Science Building auditorium Wednesday evening as an estimated 300 protested outside.

According to University of Utah spokesperson Chris Nelson, two people were arrested when scuffles broke out between protesters and counter-demonstrators.

Arrests at Ben Shapiro protest

Two people were arrested during a scuffle outside Ben Shapiro’s speech at the University of Utah. Sept. 27, 2017.

Three other people were briefly detained and released.

Steven Crowder, a conservative blogger with close ties to Shapiro, published an undercover video Thursday that purported to show far left-wing protesters, known as “Antifa” (for “anti-fascist”), distributing weapons ahead of Shapiro’s speech.

Crowder’s production team presented the video to police moments after it was recorded.

“Police looked at the video, evaluated other information available to them, and determined the individuals did not pose a credible threat that warranted action,” Nelson told Fox 13 News.

Nelson said campus police were enforcing a strict policy of no visible weapons on campus, except those permitted by law. Face masks were also prohibited.

“Police wouldn’t arrest someone for passing or carrying a pocket knife,” Nelson said.

According to court documents, a female protester featured in Crowder’s video was later arrested for aggravated assault during one of the scuffles.

University Police were joined by other local law enforcement and federal authorities in providing security for the event. The school estimates the security costs totaled $25,000.