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Conservative speaker arrested at UConn after altercation

STORRS, Conn. >> A conservative commentator was arrested at the University of Connecticut tonight after a fight broke out during his speech titled “It’s OK To Be White.”

Lucian Wintrich’s speech was cut short when a young woman in the audience appeared to take something off the podium he was using and then began to leave.

Cellphone videos posted on Twitter show Wintrich running up to the woman and grabbing her before other audience members get involved.

Police quickly stepped in and led Wintrich away. There was no immediate word on any potential charges.

“I can confirm that Lucian Wintrich was arrested by UConn police and is in police custody,” said UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz. “There were no other arrests and no injuries.”

Reitz said police are speaking to the woman involved and other witnesses to the altercation.

She also said that at some point during the evening someone broke one of the windows of the lecture hall and threw a smoke bomb in. That remained under investigation, she said.

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.

UConn’s College Republicans student group sponsored tonight’s event, which was repeatedly interrupted by people in the audience booing and chanting before the altercation.

Campus police said beforehand that they would be taking measures to ensure public safety.

The College Republicans said flyers advertising the event had been torn down or defaced across campus.

Reitz had said that free speech is among the university’s bedrock principals and it does not bar speakers on the basis of content.

UConn’s College Democrats said they were sponsoring a discussion before the speech so activists from across the campus community could express their views.

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