UCLA Police Department chief temporarily reassigned, vice chancellor says

The police chief for the University of California, Los Angeles Police Department has been temporarily reassigned weeks after violence erupted at a pro-Palestine encampment on the campus.

“John Thomas has been reassigned temporarily, pending an examination of our security processes,” Mary Osako, vice chancellor for strategic communications, said in a statement Wednesday without elaborating.

It is unclear what Thomas was reassigned to and if he is still working within the police department. The university did not provide a timeline of how long Thomas will be reassigned and whether it will be permanent.

On April 30, law enforcement stood by for hours as counterprotesters attacked the pro-Palestinian encampment at UCLA, CNN previously reported. A criminal investigation is underway, and the University of California president ordered an “independent external review” of UCLA’s actions.

The university named Capt. Gawin Gibson as acting chief of police on Tuesday, Osako said.

CNN has reached out to the UCLA Police Department for comment.

Thomas was appointed chief of police earlier this year after previously serving as interim chief since late 2022, according to a post on the police department’s website announcing the appointment.

Earlier this month, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block announced changes to the school’s security operations and the university created the Office of Campus Safety.

“It is clear that UCLA needs a unit and leader whose sole responsibility is campus safety to guide us through tense times,” Block said at the time. “This organizational structure, which elevates our safety and emergency management operations, has proven to be an effective one at other major universities across the country.”

Block is expected to testify before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Thursday about antisemitism on the UCLA campus.

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