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Sunday, April 21, 2024

UF student arrested for allegedly pushing, threatening African American fraternity member

UF student waited outside an on-campus event with a knife

A UF student was arrested Saturday at the Florida Invitational Step Show on suspicion of battery, possession of a concealed weapon and distribution of written threats to kill.

UF Police Department officers patrolling the Performing Arts Center saw a man dressed in all black, later identified as Jacob Park, 21, acting suspicious just outside the auditorium, according to the arrest report.

When Park noticed officers looking in his direction, he stepped behind a wall and out of view. He peeked around the corner multiple times, before approaching an officer and speaking to them.

Park asked the officer if they were from Africa and suggested they should visit the continent. Park was described as acting odd and nervous. He eventually went back to the front of the auditorium, according to the arrest report.

Two other people approached the officer, including one staff member, to express concerns about Park’s behavior. Park told one of them he intended to start a fight with members of Kappa Alpha Psi, a historically Black fraternity.

At the end of Saturday’s event, Park stood near the auditorium exit. He allegedly pushed a Black man trying to leave the event with an open hand, which led officers to detain him, according to the police report.

During a standard pat-down, Park began tensing and pulling away from officers. They found a kitchen knife in Park’s pocket. 

Further investigation revealed Park was sending online messages to the person he pushed and other members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. Park stated he was going to “kill” one of the members and would “dekappatate” (decapitate) the victim in front of everyone at Saturday’s event, according to the police report.

Park also made online statements to the victim containing homophobic slurs.

Saturday’s event featured step-dance performances from African American fraternities and sororities, organized by the UF Black Student Union. It’s considered the largest student-run step show in the southeast.

Park is being held at the Alachua County Jail and bail has not been set as of Sunday afternoon, according to jail records. He was trespassed from all UF properties for three years.

Contact Daniel Bednar at dbednar@alligator.org. Follow him on X @Danielbednar5.

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Daniel Bednar

Daniel Bednar is a first-year political science major and the Criminal Justice reporter for The Alligator. When he's not writing, you can find him scuba diving in the Keys or flying airplanes. 


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