Saturday, September 21, 2013

It's Not Illegal To Walk In The Street

 NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

The Guardian reports hundreds of CUNY academics signing a petition demanding all charges dropped against six CUNY students arrested during a protest against David Petraeus, his military record, and his presence teaching on their campus.  The petition also calls for the retired general to resign from his position at CUNY. 

Students have been demonstrating regularly against the militarization of their school, the return of ROTC and military recruiters, the hiring of the retired general to teach, and the naming of a building after Colin Powell. 

The six students were violently arrested by NYPD demonstrating outside a fundraiser Petraeus was attending.  While the students were charged with multiple offenses (e.g. disorderly conduct, riot, resisting arrest, obstruction of governmental administration), youtube videos show otherwise, with the police, instead, grabbing and throwing down protesters simply exercising their First Amendment rights to march and chant, and in one case, repeatedly punching a non-resisting individual as he lay on the ground.

The following video focuses on the repeated punches, in addition to other police conduct;  

More extended footage of the march in the following video;  as one non-violent protester says, "It's not against the law to walk in the street!"  She appears to be one of the arrested protesters shown in the photo above, Angelica Hernandez (see photo description/credit below).

The statement:
Six students were arrested in a brutal, unprovoked police attack during a peaceful protest by the City University of New York's students and faculty against CUNY's appointment of former CIA chief ex-General David Petraeus.  Students were punched, slammed against vehicles and against the pavement by police captains and officers, after the NYPD forced them off the pavement and onto the street.
As graduate students and educators of CUNY, we express our outrage at the violent and unprovoked actions by the NYPD against CUNY students peacefully protesting the appointment of war criminal David Petraeus as a lecturer at the Macaulay Honors College.  We deplore the use of violence and brutal tactics against CUNY students and faculty who were protesting outside the college.  It is unacceptable for the university to allow the police to violently arrest students.
We emphatically support the efforts of these CUNY students to resist the attempts by the U.S. government and the CUNY administration to turn the university into an infamous "war college" with the appointment of Petraeus.  Petraeus is responsible for countless deaths and innumerable destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan as a war commander and chief of the CIA.  Although resigning from his position as CIA director in November, Petraeus has continued his involvement in U.S. foreign policy.  Most recently Petraeus has called on Congress to back a military strike on Syria, stating "failure of Congress to approve the president's request would have serious ramifications not just in the Mideast but around the world."  His current roles as "adjunct" lecturer at CUNY and professor at USC speak to the increasing U.S. military and state security involvement within higher education.
We call on CUNY to terminate Petraeus' appointment and to ask for the charges against these students to be dropped immediately.

The UAW has released a similar statement including signatures from scores of colleagues and academics at other universities. 

Photo credit/via NY Daily News, photographer: Jefferson Siegel, "Four of the six students arrested Rafael Pena (from left), Angelica Hernandez, Denise Ford and Jose Disla and their lawyer, Lamis Deek, in Manhattan Criminal Court Wednesday."

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