Police brutality

We are three University students who consider ourselves responsible college students and citizens. Friday night, we went to a good friend’s party. We were there to have a good time – not to get drunk or to be disruptive. In the early hours of Saturday morning, three squad cars and a van showed up. The officers spoke in a demeaning manner to our friend, a resident of the house, handing her a ticket and fine for “noisy assembly,” saying she could be fined up to $700. The officers were rude and offered little help, creating more confusion with each response to the questions of my friend and her roommate. Trying to help our friend, we approached the officers outside, requested and were granted permission to ask them a few questions. As our conversation was taking place, an officer asked one of us (Bill) if he had his ID. He answered, “Yeah, I do.” As he reached for his wallet, the officer asked, “Do you even live here?” He responded, “No, that’s why I’m leaving.” The officer then grabbed his arm, twisted him around, and pushed him to the ground while kicking him in the leg. Handcuffing him, he said, “No you’re not, you’re going to jail.” This was completely unnecessary – we hadn’t been acting in an aggressive way, and we were not drunk. Without offering any further explanation, the officer pushed Bill against the car and patted him down, verbally abusing him. Then, Bill was pushed into the car and struck across the side of his face, close to his eye, leaving it swollen and bloodshot.

There was no need for the excess force used. The handcuffs cut off his circulation so that he didn’t have feeling in his hands for more than two hours after he arrived at the jail where he would spend the next seven hours. Just because we are college students, we weren’t given the same respect citizens of other age groups received. The officers continually made reference to Bill’s age and status in comparison to theirs, sarcastically calling him “college boy,” and warning him not to get philosophical with them. Even if we were at a noisy party, we still deserve to retain our human rights, and be treated with respect. We plan on filing complaints, and spreading the word about this abuse of power. The officers didn’t like our questions, but their behavior has raised many more.

Bill Pedersen, senior, civil engineering; Colleen Hobert, senior, elementary education; Elana Dix, senior, speech communication