Student arrested in Library Mall released

Student arrested in Library Mall released

Student arrested in Library Mall released
May 06
15:20 2015

Update 2:49 a.m.

Linda Kessler / Staff Writer

The student who was arrested Wednesday at a demonstration in Library Mall has been released.

UNT police officers apprehended integrative studies senior Jason Marchetti Wednesday afternoon following a confrontation with other students at a Gov. Greg Abbott protest. Marchetti voluntarily went into custody.

Though Marchetti has declined to make an official comment at this time, he issued an apology on his Facebook page Thursday afternoon. “To all my friends and family and anyone I have offended with my actions, I am truly sorry. I have committed actions that will follow [me] for the rest of my life.”

Marchetti is a 30-year-old Army veteran who used to work as an aviation specialist and mechanic before he was medically discharged, according to his Facebook page.

UNT spokeswoman Margarita Venegas said police warned Marchetti he was getting too close to the Abbott Free Protestors and they felt his behavior was a potential threat.

Police asked Marchetti to stop and walk away, which he did. But afterward he came back and continued to exhibit threatening behaviors and the police decided to arrest him to ensure the safety of the students in the area.

Tensions escalated during the protests when Marchetti and the students got into a heated argument.

Marchetti felt that being asked to leave was infringing on his first amendment rights. Marchetti requested Thursday the North Texas Daily retract a video posted with the original story.

“I fought for this country,” he told the protestors. “I fought for your right to be here.”

Dean of Students Maureen McGuinness said free speech is a constitutional right and, as a state institution, it’s something that UNT does its best uphold.

“I think it’s important to understand that, whether it’s the group that was out there yesterday, protesting for graduation, or our preachers on Wednesdays, every student, faculty and staff member does have the right to free speech on campus within the boundaries of our policies,” McGuinness said.

McGuinness declined to comment on the arrest, as any conduct issues are protected by the Stanley Educational Right to Privacy Act.

“Our free speech policy as well as everybody’s constitutional rights allow for the freedom of expression of ideas,” McGuinness said. “No matter what issue our students are dealing with or want to speak out in regards to, supporting or not, it’s within their constitutional rights to do so.”

Original post

Student Arrested After Argument at Abbott Protest

A student was arrested in the Library Mall Wednesday after a group of students came together for a peaceful protest against Gov. Greg Abbott speaking at commencement.

UNT police arrested integrative studies senior Jason Marchetti on charges of disorderly conduct and abusing/threatening a person in a public place, according to the Denton Police Department City Jail Custody Report. Marchetti was released Wednesday afternoon shortly after his arrest.

Integrative studies senior Christy Medrano said she was leading the protest when Marchetti approached her. Marchetti was in Library Mall all afternoon as the group protested and asked for petition signatures.

“He was harassing us with racial epithets,” Medrano said. “He said he was a white man in his own country and he called us illegals who need to go back to our country.”

Video has explicit language. Courtesy of Christian Boschult

Medrano said Marchetti threw a Nazi salute at the protestors and began his verbal argument of racial and sexist slurs towards the protesting students.

At this point, UNT police asked Marchetti to leave. He left, but before he was even to the STUB he turned back around and began his confrontation once more, Medrano said.mug1

Jason Marchetti

Marchetti approached protestor and anthropology senior Mario Ovalle and began to shout in his face before aggressively throwing down his backpack, according to witnesses.

“He was yelling about being a disrespected veteran and how his free speech was being taken away,” Medrano explained.

The police watching the confrontation stepped in once more and told Marchetti if he did not refrain, he would be arrested.

In response, Marchetti laid stomach-down on the ground with his hands behind his back. The officers then detained and arrested the student. The police made no comment on the arrest.

The North Texas Daily is following the story. Updates will be posted as they are made available.

Featured Image: Integrated studies senior Jason Marchetti is arrested during a protest at the Library Mall on Wednesday afternoon. Marchetti was expressing his position against those who were protesting Gov. Greg Abbott for commencement speaker. Photo by Byron Thompson – Senior Staff Photographer

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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