ATHENS, Ohio (WCMH) — Kaitlin Bennett says she plans to return to Ohio University and host an open carry rally in the coming weeks.
Bennett became known as the Kent State “gun girl” in 2018 after graduation photos of her posing with an AR-10 on campus went viral. She has since amassed a large social media following and contributes to her fiance’s website, Liberty Hangout.
Now, she says, she’s working to reelect Donald Trump by posting videos which, she says, show how the left acts on a daily basis.
Monday, Bennett said she went to Ohio University to record a video. She said she intended to ask students trivia questions about the history of U.S. presidents. By the time she finished asking one student a series of questions, she said a crowd began to gather.
She says she was not prepared for the response she got.
“I have several videos where we do pop quiz type of videos, where we go out and we ask people general basic history questions, geography questions, and we see how much the general population knows. And actually the student that I asked got all of the questions right,” said Bennett. ” A group of probably 10 people started to form at that point. And they started to call me a racist. Which in that point, someone calls me a racist, I believe they should be able to back up such a horrible allegation. Which they weren’t able to. No one could give me proof for why they believe I was racist. And from there the crowd quickly grew to probably a hundred people within five minutes, and in thirty minutes there were probably three hundred to four hundred students around me.”
Bennett said students in the crowd then started throwing objects and poured liquids on her. She said over the course of around an hour, she tried to leave.
Videos posted on social media by Bennett and others show a large crowd gathering around her as she walks around campus. Video from inside a vehicle she was riding in shows liquids being thrown as people shout.
Bennett described the incident as a ‘riot.’ In a statement Monday, Ohio University Police denied that the incident rose to the level of a riot.
Early this afternoon an activist appeared unexpectedly on the Ohio University campus in Athens and engaged in Constitutionally protected activity. She drew a large crowd of people, many with opposing viewpoints, who also chose to exercise their first amendment rights. Ohio University police officers were present throughout the incident to protect everyone’s rights and safety; other than keeping streets and other public rights of way clear, no police officers asked anyone to leave at any point in time.
Contrary to allegations circulating on social media, the incident did not rise to the level of a riot. There was strong language, and allegations that some unknown person(s) in the crowd splashed water, but there were no reported injuries or violence, and no one was arrested during the event. 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 officers on duty had to prioritize their response to the events as they unfolded, rightly putting everyone’s personal safety ahead of all other concerns.
In an interview with NBC4’s Ted Hart, Bennett said the university lied about what happened.
“I always reach out and coordinate with police for events. Me going on campus with a microphone was not an event. They lied so much in their press statement. I am not an activist. I’m a YouTuber and for them to call me one without even talking to me is ridiculous. They also said that they were allegations of unknown people splashing water on me. We are not in a pool. We’re not swimming. No one is splashing water in a parking lot. They threw liquids on me, coffee, hot steaming coffee, iced coffee, tea, pop and water,” said Bennett.
“They were definitely out and outspoken. At times they were vulgar, but none of the officers I’ve spoken to reported seeing any violence or anything of that nature,” said Ohio University Police Chief Andrew Powers. “I think the officers responded appropriately.”
Powers said the crowd ebbed and flowed and peaked at between 150 and 200 people. He called the crowd disorderly, but not a riot.
“I’ve had rocks and bottles thrown at me. I’ve been in riot gear. I’ve seen people setting fires and things. Those are riots. I think that what we saw yesterday was disorderly behavior but it didn’t rise to the level of riot and the officers rightly kept their focus on maintaining safety and had incidents occurred where people were throwing rocks or people were throwing objects that could hurt people, they would have responded to that immediately,” said Powers.
Due to Monday’s incident, Bennett says she is now planning an open-carry walk on campus, much like she did at Kent State in 2018.
“These students came to violently assault me, harass me, and riot against me because their phones told them to, because of my conservative opinions. So we’re gonna go back, and we’re gonna go back armed, and we’re gonna show that people need to be able to arm themselves on campus, because if anyone else knew about a Trump supporter on that campus or a conservative, or simply someone else who doesn’t think men can turn into women they would do the exact same thing to them. I’m not the only one that gets this treatment. If everyone knew the Trump supporters on that Campus, I 100% guarantee they would be going after them as well,” said Bennett.
Chief Powers said Bennett absolutely has the right to come back to campus.