Two men representing right-wing organization Turning Point USA ambushed ASU professor David Boyles as he exited his classroom on the university's Tempe campus on Oct. 11. One man interrogated Boyles, while the second man filmed the ambush with a cellphone.
Edited footage of the several minutes-long encounter — which resulted in Boyles sustaining an injury to his face — was posted to Turning Point USA's page on X, formerly known as Twitter.
‘You can’t run’In the video, Turning Point’s Kalen D’Almeida approached Boyles and opened with an innocuous, “Hey there, David,” before launching into a litany of inflammatory questions.
Boyles declined to answer any questions from D’Almeida and tried to walk away. However, D’Almeida and the person recording the incident on a cellphone continued to follow Boyles.
"David, you can't run. It’s best if you just talk to me about why you want to push sodomy onto young people,” D’Almeida said as he pursued Boyles.
The video footage shows that Boyles lunged toward the person recording the incident after 90 seconds of aggressive questioning.
“You would like to see a different America exist where little boys are sodomized by people like you,” D’Almeida said before Boyles can be seen reaching for the phone. The video posted online then abruptly ends.
“Boyles’s assault resulted in a disconnected wire that caused the video to cut out immediately after his first lunge, but the video is clear that Mr. Boyles, in a moment of rage, initiated a physical altercation and attacked our crew,” Turning Point said in a statement about the altercation.
Security footage released by ASU on Saturday tells a different story.
In that footage, Boyles is walking as D’Almeida questions him and a person records the encounter. Boyles can then be seen moving to put his hand in front of the phone.
As Boyles nears the person holding the phone, D’Almeida takes several steps toward Boyles before pushing the professor to the ground. Boyles gets to his feet as a student runs to his aid. D’Almeida and the other person continue to follow Boyles and the student as they exit the frame.
"Knowing that they were filming in order to post this online and inspire even more harassment against me, I moved to block the camera," Boyles said in a since deleted post on Facebook. "When I did so, the other one jumped me from behind, slamming me to the pavement."
Although Boyles suffered injuries to his face, he said in the post that the injuries were minor.
Neither Turning Point or Boyles responded to requests for comment by Phoenix New Times.
A pattern of abuseThis is not the first time Turning Point has targeted Boyles, who worked to establish a chapter of Drag Queen Story Hour in Arizona. Boyles is currently listed on Turning Point’s Professor Watchlist.
“The mission of Professor Watchlist is to expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom,” according to Turning Point.
ASU President Michael Crow referred to the conservatives as “cowardly bullies” in a statement issued on Saturday, adding that he asked Turning Point in April to remove ASU professors from its watchlist.
"I did not receive a response," Crow said. "Instead, the incident we’ve all now witnessed on the video shows Turning Point’s refusal to stop dangerous practices that result in both physical and mental harm to ASU faculty members, which they then apparently exploit for fundraising, social media clicks and financial gain."
ASU police spokesperson Adam Wolfe told New Times that the incident is being investigated as a hate crime — at least as much as state law allows.
"The long answer is that Arizona doesn’t have a 'hate crime' statute. Instead, bias or prejudicial motivations for a crime are considered aggravating factors," Wolfe said. "So in this case, if assault charges are submitted, and bias is determined to be the reasoning behind them, they would be upgraded to aggravated assault due to the prejudicial motivations."