A University of Oregon law professor was in a heated argument with a group of students protesting against Israeli and American immigration policies when he snatched a cell phone camera from a woman, placing it in his back pocket where it remained recording for several minutes.

James Olmsted, who describes himself as a “nationally recognized conservation easement attorney,”  walked up to the student and asked the tired question of “what are you going to do with it?”

She said she would do whatever she wanted with it. It is her video, after all.

He then snatched the phone and placed it in his back pocket.

The students seemed too shocked to respond. One of them said, “this is public property, what are you doing?”

Olmsted responded by saying, “this is my public property, too.”

And this is a guy who claims to be an expert in property law with 25 years of legal experience.

There are two videos from this incident, including the one above which captures the phone snatching, but cuts out immediately after that, as well as the one below which is from the student’s phone that he snatched.



In that video, the phone continues recording audio even after it’s in his pocket and you can hear the students trying to explain how they have the right to record him in public.

At one point in the second video, it sounds as if he is trying his best to antagonize the tall student from the first video by saying, “get out of my face or do something, you prick.”

Those students have much more patience than I would have had in that situation.

University of Oregon law professor James Olmsted snatched a cell phone camera from a student recording him in public.


Olmsted posted the following about himself on LinkedIn:

James L. Olmsted is a nationally recognized conservation easement attorney representing land trusts, landowners and developers in large-scale fee title and conservation easement acquisitions. His twenty-five year legal career includes extensive background in land use and zoning law, including navigating the permitting and environmental compliance processes for major multi-billion dollar golf and ski resort developments in the Lake Tahoe region of California and litigating high profile land use cases for public interest groups in Washington state. Mr. Olmsted is widely published in professional and scholarly journals. He is a frequent speaker on conservation easements and related climate change topics at conferences across the nation and has been an invited speaker at the Land Trust Alliance National Rally. Mr. Olmsted was the organizer of a national symposium on conservation easement law and policy and also the special editor of the volume of the Duke Law School Journal of Law & Contemporary Problems in which the symposium articles were published. He is an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Oregon School of Law Environmental and Natural Resources Department (a nationally ranked top-10 environmental law program) where he teaches a course on Land Trust and Conservation Easement Law. Mr. Olmsted is licensed to practice law in California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

UPDATE: Here is a third video.


UPDATE II: Olmsted has been arrested and reassigned from his position as a law professor.

According to KGW:

EUGENE, Ore. – A University of Oregon adjunct law professor was arrested Thursday and his teaching duties were reassigned after he aggressively confronted a group of student activists on the Eugene campus Thursday.

In a video that has been making the rounds on YouTube and other social media, 58-year-old James Olmsted is seen provoking, shoving and even snatching the cell phone out of the hands of one student.