Man who interrupted speech by Ayers won't be charged

Man who interrupted speech by Ayers won't be charged

URBANA — The Champaign County state’s attorney has decided not to charge a Dewey man in connection with his disruption of an activist’s speech on the University of Illinois campus last week.

“I am simply not interested in giving Mr. Thompson or Mr. Ayers any more of a platform than they’ve already had here,” said State’s Attorney Julia Rietz.

Mark Thompson, 50, was arrested Thursday night by UI police for resisting arrest after he disrupted a speech by UI-Chicago professor Bill Ayers at Allen Hall in Urbana.

Ayers was a guest speaker in residence at Allen all last week, his trip having been paid for by students who live there.

On Thursday, Thompson showed up for the fourth night in a row to hear what Ayers had to say and to confront the former Weather Underground member and anti-Vietnam war activist. Thompson had been warned earlier in the week that his questions were to come after those from the students who had paid for Ayers’ visit.

UI spokeswoman Robin Kaler said Thursday evening that Thompson tried to give Ayers a Bible and a copy of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.” In response, Ayers retreated from the stage and police moved in to arrest Thompson.

“Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I was able to watch the exchange on You Tube afterwards,” said Rietz. “I thought Mr. Thompson was obnoxious and the UI police were appropriate in their response but it was clear that the crowd was not impressed by Mr. Thompson so I don’t think he accomplished anything.

“I could charge him with disorderly conduct but that would require us to bring Mr. Ayers back for a trial and I don’t think it is worth it. It would be a circus for a Class B misdemeanor,” she said.

UI police had given Thompson a notice to appear in court on the charge this week.

Comments embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

Apatheist wrote on March 18, 2009 at 10:03 am

Disorderly Conduct is a Class C misdemeanor, Julia.

ractivist wrote on March 18, 2009 at 11:03 am

It is 11:39, I have my appointment at1:30. Julia missed the point entirely. Of course the crowd was unimpressed. They are brainwashed ninteen year olds. I was calling out there man who they put on a pedestal, when in all reality he should be behind bars for his actions. Those of the past as a bomber and those of the present as a subversive anti American. There should have been cameras covering every word he spoke, as he threw out premises as facts when they were nothing but propaganda. Of course she trys to discredit me in order to give credit to the U of I for having this guy on the payroll. I would love for her to pursue this, for the media. But that is the last thing that will happen.

greenroom wrote on March 18, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Thompson seems to be yet another example of an all too common right wing authoritarian personality type. He demands free speech for himself in the very act of trying to deny the same right of free speech to those he disagrees with.

Ayers should be in jail because he is a "subversive anti American"? Who gave this yahoo the power to determine who is and who is not "anti American"? Be thankful thugs like this are not the ones who determine such things.

Thompson also displays his contempt for Americans who he disagrees with by calling the students "brain washed nineteen year olds." I bet the only Ameicans Thompson thinks are not brain washed are those in the thankfully small minority who agree with him 100%.

The Birchers never went away and Thompson is just another incarnation of their repressive philosophy. Americans see them and Thompson for what they are, irrelevant and ineffectual circus clowns.

asparagus wrote on March 18, 2009 at 12:03 pm

I'm an American and I appreciate Mr. Thompson's actions. It seems that whenever the left or right bring a radical speaker in that there is similar treatment by the other side. I wish his views were not so easily dismissed by many in this community. They are valid and many responsible and intelligent Americans share them -- far more than will ever be acknowledged on a university campus, unfortunately.

greenroom wrote on March 18, 2009 at 1:03 pm


You support denying free speech to and locking up people who you and Thompson disagree with?

And what do you mean when you claim that "far more [people share Thompson's views] than will ever be acknowledged on a university campus, unfortunately." Isn't this just a way to falsely assert that you and Thompson are in a (silent) majority when in fact your authoritarian views are only held by a minority?

spangwurfelt wrote on March 18, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Mark Thompson: another mind ruined by Ayn Rand's fantasies.

EyesRight wrote on March 19, 2009 at 3:03 am

I say let Ayers have his say. The best thing that you can do for people like this is let them talk. He's merely a preacher of another religion, a classically failing one at that, and at least he doesn't need a teleprompter to come forth with his version of the rubbish. Which grows wonderful in the shady nooks of college campi across the country, but flounders without fail when imposed upon the masses it seeks to impoverish and control.

So what if he has five minutes with the handful of nine teen year olds. (play on words mine)

With any luck at all they will grow out of it once they get out into the light of the real world.

Hitler made great speeches to kids too, and it was fun for some, for awhile. Good riddance. Promised "Change" doesn't always mean for the better.

Say on Mr. Errors, Ayer it out, by all means, say on, the kids are indeed listening...better than you might think.

Retreating from the platform just because someone shows up with a Bible and an Ayn Rand book doesn't say much for your "hire" convictions.

Hey Mark....wait your turn and be somewhat civil, you're not helping anyone but perhaps those that you engage like this.

Good call, Julia. Leaving as many circuses in the jungle with the fungal is much need wisdom exercised.

dooraghero wrote on March 19, 2009 at 5:03 am

The political spectrum is not a straight line; you go either too far to the left or too far to the right and you end up with totalitarianism. Both Ayers and Thompson are really of the same ilk. Radical left or radical right- it all degenerates into demagougery and propoganda where facts are conveniently twisted to support one's position. I say give them both a chance to speak. Let their words and deeds expose them for who they really are.

jbs47112 wrote on March 19, 2009 at 10:03 am

Thompson wrote: “They are valid and many responsible and intelligent Americans share them -- far more than will ever be acknowledged on a university campus, unfortunately.”

Greenroom wrote: “Isn't this just a way to falsely assert that you and Thompson are in a (silent) majority when in fact your authoritarian views are only held by a minority?”

Greenroom, please read these two quotes and explain why you effectively rewrote Thompson’s statement (‘far more’ became ‘majority’) and then attacked it. How intellectually dishonest can you be?

greenroom wrote on March 19, 2009 at 6:03 pm



I did not attempt to rewrite his statement -- it is right there for anyone to read. It would be quite ineffective to attempt to change his meaning.

The clear implication of his remarks though is that people who share his views are in the majority in this country and somehow underrepresented on campuses.

I dispute this implication. There is nothing intellectually dishonest about that. In fact, I would say that you are being disingenuous by manufacturing this allegation that I somehow thought I could misrepresent Thompson's words.

Why don't you respond to the substance of my posts instead of trotting out this silly ploy?

Do you agree that people like Thompson, or yourself, should be able to deny the right of free speech and lock up people he, or you, disagree with and label "anti American subversives"?

greenroom wrote on March 19, 2009 at 6:03 pm

And it was actually aspargus who made the remark you claim I tried to somehow tried to rewrite, not Thompson, aka ractivist.

EyesRight wrote on March 22, 2009 at 8:03 pm

More light on the subject...

Nice article discussing who and what Ayers, and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn really are:

Communist terrorists who now hides behind our fine institution of higher learning.

Here is a segment of the article:

"This wouldn’t be the first time. When Ayers gave a speech at St. Mary’s College in California on January 28, the question-and-answer period was cut short before Larry Grathwohl, a former FBI informant in the Weather Underground, was about to ask a question. Grathwohl has charged that Ayers planned bombings intended to kill police and that Ayers confided in him that Dohrn had planted the bomb that killed San Francisco Police Sergeant Brian V. McDonnell on February 16, 1970. “This bomb contained fence staples and was placed on a window ledge during a shift change ensuring the presence of the greatest number of police officers and the greatest possibility of death and injury,” Grathwohl has said."

I wonder if the U of I police knew that, according to Grathwohl, Ayers is, among other things, a cop killer.

Julia Rietz? Maybe this is one circus that might be worth a deeper look.

asparagus wrote on March 26, 2009 at 9:03 am

sarcasmMore "right wing authoritarian personality types[s]", from the minority, protest the terrorist Ayers at a Detroit campus./sarcasm