Former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines told members of Congress on Tuesday that earlier last month, he was held against his will at San Francisco State University, with protesters demanding a ransom for his freedom. .
Gaines shared his story during a discussion about left-wing violence plaguing American communities and how Homeland Security can do more to support state and local law enforcement to combat the threats. on the interstate.
Since tying for fifth with University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer Lia Thomas in the 200-meter NCAA championships last year, Gaines has advocated that women’s sports should be reserved for biological women.
On April 6, Gaines visited San Francisco State University to speak to a campus group about women’s right to compete on a level playing field. He told the congressman that the school administration was aware of his visit, and told him that he would meet with the campus police to determine a security plan before he gave his speech.
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But campus police failed to show up, according to Gaines.
Still, he gave his speech, despite protesters outside the room chanting.
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Gaines said he heard protesters yelling, “We’re fighting,” at which point he began to fear for his safety.
When he finished his speech, protesters flooded the room, Gaines said, raising their fists and flashing lights until the lights went out.
During the incident, Gaines said, he was attacked.
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“A woman grabbed me and told me she was with the campus police and pulled me towards the door, but I didn’t think she was with the police because she wasn’t wearing any clothes that showed she was an officer, and he was covering his face. , so I couldn’t see his face,” Gaines told the committee.
After a moment of resistance, Gaines said he had no other choice because he was “really scared” for his life.
When he reached the hallway, he was escorted to the stairs blocked by protesters. Instead, he barricaded himself in an office with members of the campus police.
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“The little room we found was my prison for the next three hours, and for those hours, I was definitely being held against my will,” Gaines said.
As he sits in the room, Gaines hears angry mobs yelling “vengeful, racist” things, and the police won’t let him out.
Gaines said the officers wouldn’t give him any kind of support because the issue was so controversial, and when he told an officer he was hit, no one asked if he was OK.
When Gaines realized he’d missed his flight home because he was being held hostage, the room lieutenant responded, “Don’t you think we all want to go home?”
The protesters, Gaines said, eventually demanded a ransom and threatened not to let him go without payment.
“They said my appearance on campus was so traumatic that they owed me money,” Gaines said. “They were under the false impression that the university was paying me to go there.”
She later expanded on what people were yelling outside the room, saying she heard things like “you’re only protecting her because she’s a white woman,” “you knew this was going to happen,” “you asked for it.” . this,” and “he can’t get home safely.”
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Eventually, Gaines said, the San Francisco Police Department arrived and helped get him to safety.
“Freedom of speech will suffer if university administrators do not condemn violence and kidnapping on their campus,” he said. “It’s chilling when administrators don’t adequately prepare and protect the safety of their speakers, whether liberal or conservative. Free speech is undermined when administrators misrepresent and undermine views they disagree with.”