The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 43.0°F | Rain

Protesters generally peaceful despite sporadic CP violence

As a witness to the April 6 anti-apartheid rally, I was startled to read Alan Steele's letter ["Unruly mob should not affect divestment," April 13] alleging that "many protesters were antagonizing, pushing and hitting police officers. . . ." As a press photographer on the job, I was moving around the melee watching very carefully. I did see a couple of protesters who perhaps struggled more than they should have, but in no case did I see a student strike or push an officer.

My eyes, admittedly, are not everywhere at all times, and I may have missed isolated incidents, but there is no truth in Steele's implication that there was widespread violence on the part of the protesters.

On the other side, I did see more than one instance of Campus Police officers who apparently got carried away in their work. I must say that, on the whole, the CP's are very good officers, and that they were saddled with a very unpleasant job on April 6. However, there are a couple of officers who would fit in better on the more callous and brutal Metropolitan District Commission force.

I recall watching a black student under arrest, walking peacefully toward the patrol wagon, in the firm grasp of at least two campus officers. The young man had one arm raised over his head. Another officer apparently considered this an unappealing political statement, and took the young man down by the wrist, jerking his arm down over his head in a way that would be expected to cause shoulder injury. The young man was then pinned and cuffed, his books and papers spilled across the grass.

Surely this was not an appropriate way to treat a student who was not resisting arrest.

Robert Newman '89->