Criminal Justice

Law prof is pepper-sprayed during lecture by man who demands a citizen's arrest


A George Mason University law professor was pepper-sprayed during class by a man who jumped onto the professor’s desk and demanded a citizen’s arrest of the professor.

WJLA identifies the professor as Tyler Cowen. He was teaching a unit on vigilantism, so some students may have thought the attack was staged, the broadcast station says. Arlnow.com and CBSDC also have reports on the incident.

According to WJLA, Cowen ran into the hall with the suspect in pursuit. An off-duty police officer who was also a student tried to hold the suspect, who managed to flee until he was arrested outside the school by Arlington County police officers. The suspect, who was not identified in the articles, also had a stun gun, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Charges are pending.

Cowen and the suspect did not know each other, police said. Medics briefly treated the professor and the students for breathing issues. Cowen declined to be taken to the hospital, WJLA says.

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