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Suspended University of Missouri professor defends actions

An assistant University of Missouri communications professor who was suspended over a videotaped confrontation with student journalists is defending her actions after new video surfaced.

The latest video shows the school’s Homecoming parade in October, where demonstrators blocked then-system President Tim Wolfe’s vehicle. Police body camera footage shows Melissa Click telling police to “get your hands off the children” and cursing at an officer.

ABC 17’s Marissa Hollowed spoke with Click again today. Click says she will continue to fight for her job.

Click says she regrets using foul language toward the officer, but said, “I think my reaction was one many people would make of surprise.” Click continued saying, “I think that folks maybe don’t see a lot of protests in this part of the state I’m not sure. I think what was seen in that video is pretty typical for a protest… The officer was shaking a can of pepper spray, in my opinion, preparing to use it on the students and was pushing them.”

ABC 17’s Marissa Hollowed questioned her about accusations she scuffled with other journalists during the day she called for “muscle” on Carnahan Quad. Here is the conversation:

HOLLOWED: “I spoke to Mark Schierbecker, the man behind the camera. He tells me the incident between you two that day, was not the only you were involved in. He says he saw you hitting other peoples cameras, did that happen?”
CLICK: “The day was a really busy one with lots of things going on I don’t know how he could say that and I don’t know what evidence he has to prove it.”
HOLLOWED: He says he has a video of it dying down. Did it happen yes or no?
CLICK: Did what happen?
HOLLOWED: Were you in a conflict with another journalist that day?
CLICK: There was a journalist who grabbed my arm at one point. Yes.

Click says she has not been to anger management classes and that faculty did not initiate the Concerned Student 1950 protests.

When asked about interim Chancellor Hank Foley’s statement calling her behavior at the Homecoming parade “appalling,” she said, “I definitely think it sends a pretty chilling message to university faculty about whether they should be willing to help MU students when they need help. I definitely think it deviates from university practices and sets up an environment where I can’t be fairly evaluated.”

In a statement from the Texas company working with Click trying to restore her reputation, she says she’s “sorry” she cursed at police. Click says parade-goers were taunting the students and that she felt “afraid” for them.

Protests over race-related issues escalated in November, when video showed Click calling for “some muscle” to remove a student videographer from a demonstration.

For Marissa Hollowed’s complete interview with Melissa Click on the new video, click here.

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