Jill Stein Comments on Her Arrest at Campus Protest Being ‘Bad Look’ for Washington University and Police

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein says she was charged with assaulting a police officer after she attended a pro-Palestinian protest on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, on Saturday.

“It was kind of scary to tell you the truth,” Stein, 73, said in an interview with local news station KSDK following her release from several hours of detention after she and 99 others were arrested. “I was charged with assaulting a police officer. Can you believe it?” (Stein’s campaign spokesperson told reporters that they were “not aware of any charges at this time.”)

Stein said she was invited by students at the university—one of dozens that have been disrupted in recent weeks by protests against Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, accusations of apartheid, and clashes with police—to join the demonstration.

In a video taken before her arrest that Stein posted on Twitter, she noted the presence of police and said: “We’re going to stand here in line with the students who are standing for democracy, standing up for human rights, standing up to end genocide.”

Stein also posted photos of her and members of her staff, who she said were also arrested, linking arms with student protesters. A video circulated on social media shows a confrontation between protesters, including Stein, and police—with a bicycle being pushed between the two groups.

Over 100 students and community members violently arrested at the WashU encampment tonight, including Jill Stein who was brutalized by a police bicycle. — Cinthia Romo Alba 🍉 (@cromoalba)

According to a statement by Washington University, 100 individuals—including 23 students and four university employees—were arrested on Saturday when they “refused to leave after being asked multiple times.”

“All face charges of trespassing and some may also be charged with resisting arrest and assault, including for injuries to three police officers who sustained injuries including a severe concussion, a broken finger and a groin injury,” the statement added.

“I think it’s a really bad look for the university,” Stein told reporters. “This is about freedom of speech, and not just any old freedom of speech, but freedom of speech on a very critical issue that needs debate and dialogue.”

Stein said she was in Missouri to collect signatures to get on the 2024 presidential ballot in the state. Stein, a physician and environmental activist, previously ran as the Green Party candidate for President in 2012 and 2016, and her 2024 campaign emphasizes a “pro-worker, anti-war, climate action agenda.”

“The American people are clamoring for a choice,” Stein told KSDK. “They don’t want these two zombie candidates rammed down their throat again,” she said, referring to President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, the 81-year-old Democratic incumbent and 77-year-old Republican presumptive nominee, respectively. (Stein is also running against fellow third-party candidate Howie Hawkins and independent Andrew Yang.)

Stein visited Columbia, Miss., on Sunday and spoke about her arrest, among other topics like healthcare and the climate.“This was a very peaceful community-based event going on,” she said of the demonstration at Washington University. “It’s like these are riot police who are coming in to create a riot.”