A woman accused of taking papers from a speaker during a controversial event at the University of Connecticut has been arrested.
UConn police said 33-year-old Catherine Gregory was involved in an altercation with conservative commentator Lucian Wintrich at a speech titled "It’s OK to be White." On Nov. 28. Wintrich is the White House correspondent for the right-wing blog Gateway Pundit, which said the talk would be about "identity politics" in today's cultural and political landscape.
The event was controversial from the start and some students who spoke to NBC Connecticut said they believed he should never have been allowed to speak on campus.
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The incident began when Gregory took paperwork off Wintrich’s lectern and walked away. Wintrich ran after Gregory and grabbed her, causing security and several other people to jump into the fray. He was arrested and charged with breach of peace. Gregory left the area before police could identify her.
After the incident Wintrich took to Twitter to defend himself, blaming the violence on the attitude of the students.
"It's really unfortunate that some of the kids at @UConn felt the need to be violent and disruptive during a speech that focused on how the leftist media is turning Americans against each other," he wrote. "Tonight proved my point," he tweeted early the next day.
Police said that Gregory, who is not a UConn student, was attempting to steal Wintrich’s property. She was charged with criminal attempt to commit larceny and disorderly conduct. Gregory turned herself into police on Sunday and is due in court on Wednesday.
Schoenhorn previously told NBC Connecticut his client was motivated by the desire to stop what he described as “hateful, racist statements” that Wintrich was making during the speech.
“He's going to suggest that picking up a piece of paper deserves a lawsuit whereas his violent reaction and threats - nevermind the fact that he physically assaulted Ms. Gregory - would be what - understandable under the circumstances? But his provocations would not,” Schoenhorn said.
Gregory works as a college adviser at Quinebaug Valley Community. QVCC released a statement after the incident saying that Gregory attended the event as a private citizens and that it does not condone the behavior and encourages peaceful discourse and compassionate debate.