A University of Florida professor freaked out Wednesday after seeing police officers on campus, believing they were an armed gang of racists.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R.) had declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in preparation for a speech two days later on UF's campus by white supremacist Richard Spencer. Tensions are high on campus, and rumors are now swirling, the Miami Herald reports.
One geography professor emailed his students a warning that was later picked up and sent out on the student email listserv.
"FYI, I just walked into Turlington 10 minutes ago, and there were armed Aryan Brotherhood militia circling the building. It feels like they are testing how much they can get away with, openly carrying weapons," he wrote.
But as the news spread on campus and social media, it turned out that the oddly dressed men were actually Florida state troopers sent to keep the peace.
A Herald staffer tweeted out an image of the khaki-clad troopers.
Security on UF campus the day before Spencer gets here is already tight. Dozens of state troopers in bulletproof vests, ID checks. pic.twitter.com/1gVnVDu9vI
— Alex Harris (@harrisalexc) October 18, 2017
The Herald also reported that a rumor sprang up that a noose was on campus. That rumor was also unfounded.
County police set up a hotline to address the noose and armed militia rumor, but "there are so many rumors flying that police have said they will not address them individually."