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The latest from the The Daily Collegian...

Police misconduct the norm?
By Aaron Wodin-Schwartz, Collegian columnist

May 05, 2005

It has come to my attention that police abuse of power is becoming disturbingly common in Amherst. Most of us have been at parties here that have been broken up with excessive force, and probably know someone whose arrest shocked us and seemed entirely uncalled for. Many are vaguely aware of a growing trend of extreme police aggressiveness in and around universities in this country - some may have even seen video of the U.C. Santa Cruz police brutality against non-violent campers from last Monday - but most have chosen to hang their heads and just try to stay out of the way.

Unfortunately this trend is hitting the Amherst area particularly hard. In the past months, there has been a rash of police misconduct as officers have stepped above and beyond the call of duty in harassing and brutalizing innocent civilians and generally galvanizing otherwise non-violent situations. Whether these are the actions of individual officers on power trips or local police departments either tacitly or explicitly encouraging such actions, they are illegal and unjust and they must cease.

Clearly, there is at least some institutional blame: the UMass police log is habitually filled with 18 to 20-year-olds arrested for possession of alcohol by a minor. This is how the university spends its tight budget while it is annually forced to cut financial aid, minority and community outreach programs and academic departments. Do we really think our money is better allocated in the senseless punishment of college drinking than in education? Are these really our values as a society?

There are so many UMass police officers yet they rarely prevent actual crime, like the impressive razing of the Native American statue or the hundreds of rapes on campus every year that go unreported. Bloated university law enforcement instead wastes our tax money by habitually harassing students.

Then there's the long-unenforced Amherst bylaw authorizing arrests for noise violations without prior warning. In the past month or so, a few friends have learned the hard way about the town's one-strike-and-you're-out policy. Being from western Massachusetts, I find this policy especially appalling and invasive, although I hope the dubiousness of its legality is clear to everyone.

In addition to warranting arrest for mere noise violations, the protocol does not offer the accused the opportunity to know that they are in violation of noise codes before being arrested. This means that charges are brought outside of codified standards and, instead, at the discretion of individual police officers. It also means that Amherst residents are forced to self-censor constitutionally protected activities in order to avoid falling into the undefined zone of "illegal noise." The town statute would likely be struck down if brought before a tribunal of Constitutional interpretation.

Yet it is the misconduct and brutality of the Amherst police that sickens me most. Two weekends ago, a good friend living at Alpine Commons was beaten and arrested by police despite his compliance with their belligerent orders. He was having a party for his brother's 24th birthday and there were about 35-45 guests, all over the age of 21.

The police came and without, warning or questioning, arrested him and two others, refusing to cite them their Miranda Rights and instead informing them simply of their right to "shut the f*** up." After nearly breaking my friend's handcuffed arm, one of the officers proceeded to choke him in the back of the police car for nine seconds while two fellow officers looked on. I know all of this because I have seen a witness' videotape of the incident.

Then this past weekend, three of my friend's neighbors, middle-aged citizens of Cape Verdean origin, were also arrested and brutalized as they had a family gathering. This time the police were courteous enough to warn them to turn their music down and disband the party in order to avoid arrest.

Less than an hour later, the police returned while there were about 10 people left in the apartment - in addition to two sleeping infants and one four-year-old child - and about 15 people in the parking lot preparing to leave. They immediately arrested a man in his mid-forties and, after pepper spraying the onlookers, arrested two others that protested the assault.

The people trying to leave were forced to flee into the apartment to avoid the attack. When they refused to open the unlocked door, the police kicked it in, shattering a window from the force of the blow, and began pepper spraying inside the apartment. The spray was so strong and wielded so recklessly that my friends in their upstairs apartment were coughing, and only tortured screaming could be heard from below.

Upon seeing the now-crying infants, the cops apparently realized they had made a grave error and left in a hurry with their three detainees. They did not apologize for the door, the trauma or the pepper spray, though they did call anonymously later in the night to see if the children were alright. In both cases, the police created crime rather than solving it, and then they arrested or assaulted anyone trying to point out the injustice.

So how do the police get away with such blatant lawlessness and brutality? One way is to hide behind easy-out, three month probation pacts that force students and others to consent to police reports in order to settle matters straightforwardly and painlessly. The true purpose of these pacts is to preclude brutality suits against the department. Another way is to beat up on college students and poor minorities that are unlikely to have the time or resources to pursue legal action.

A final technique is to provide misinformation about individual rights, whether it is refusal to provide the Miranda warning immediately upon detention or telling eyewitnesses that it is "illegal to film law enforcement officers in the state of Massachusetts." This is simply uncalled for and must be addressed by the town immediately.
 

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Re: Here's what the latest what UMass students have to offer

Hollywood needs to make a movie where the suspect, who IS NOT QUESTIONED, does not get read his/her Miranda Rights.

Besides that, there is so much about that article I could comment on, but don't want to waste my time.
 

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Re: Here's what the latest what UMass students have to offer

Hmmmm... Maybe the 78th R.T.T. will graduate elsewhere... damn hippie liberals...

By the way Southside, you always seem to have the perfect interjection attached to a picture... where did you get this fantastic collection? It's awesome.
 

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Re: Here's what the latest what UMass students have to offer

I guess while doing research they missed the all of the massive riots at universities across the country. Not all college students are this dumb, just ones that flap thier traps.
 

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Weird, I posted a rebuttal to the feedback forum on the Collegian, but the "Moderator" never approved it. I don't suppose some dyed in the wool liberal student is denying my "Right to Free Speech?"

Nazis.
 

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Re: Here's what the latest what UMass students have to offer

Pvt. Cowboy";p="64180 said:
Hmmmm... Maybe the 78th R.T.T. will graduate elsewhere... damn hippie liberals...

By the way Southside, you always seem to have the perfect interjection attached to a picture... where did you get this fantastic collection? It's awesome.
WWW.PICPOP.COM

I grab them from the website and copy them to paint. Some I leave as is and some I change the phrases to meet specific needs! 8)
 

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Re: Here's what the latest what UMass students have to offer

I did not know that we were not supposed to arrest people under 21 for minor in posession... people at Umass need to get a life. Drive through East Hampton some saturday.. they protest the war STILL every saturday on the green.
 

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Re: Here's what the latest what UMass students have to offer

think etown's bad, check out the amherst green on any day. you will have more fliers in the air about anti-anything then you could dream up
 

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Re: Here's what the latest what UMass students have to offer

The Daily Collegian is a huge waste of paper and it's columnists aren't exactly known for being the brightest bunch.
The funny thing is I have heard people talk about that Alpine Common situation and each time the details are completely different and each person claims to have seen the "video tape" because their neighbor's friend's roomate's cousin has the tape. :roll:
 

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Re: Here's what the latest what UMass students have to offer

what ever happened to that waste of oxygen that wrote the Pat Tillman article? She would make a wonderful dummy.
 

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Re: Here's what the latest what UMass students have to offer

kttref";p="64146 said:
Hollywood needs to make a movie where the suspect, who IS NOT QUESTIONED, does not get read his/her Miranda Rights.

Besides that, there is so much about that article I could comment on, but don't want to waste my time.
well kate, its just another example of uneducated idiots.

1 of the other many things with this article is that she mentions:
Do we really think our money is better allocated in the senseless punishment of college drinking than in education? Are these really our values as a society?
i'm not sure if she realizes this but its illegal for M.I.P?

also:
or the hundreds of rapes on campus every year that go unreported
how do you investigate rapes/crimes that don't get reported.
 

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Re: Here's what the latest what UMass students have to offer

What a donkey! He is way too liberal for UMass, time to switch to a school in Cambridge or Berkley where he can make a career out of being a whine bag... :cry:

This means that charges are brought outside of codified standards and, instead, at the discretion of individual police officers.
Holy shit! An officer making an arrest decision based on their discretion! Stop the presses. This is some groundbreaking journalism.

The police came and without, warning or questioning, arrested him and two others, refusing to cite them their Miranda Rights and instead informing them simply of their right to "shut the f*** up."
Ooops, they must have forgot to call and schedule an appointment to come break up the party and "brutalize" the guests. Aren't those the new version of Miranda officers are supposed to read???

Then this past weekend, three of my friend's neighbors, middle-aged citizens of Cape Verdean origin, were also arrested and brutalized as they had a family gathering. This time the police were courteous enough to warn them to turn their music down and disband the party in order to avoid arrest.

Less than an hour later, the police returned while there were about 10 people left in the apartment - in addition to two sleeping infants and one four-year-old child - and about 15 people in the parking lot preparing to leave. They immediately arrested a man in his mid-forties and, after pepper spraying the onlookers, arrested two others that protested the assault.
Protested the arrest... nice way of making it sound like they were coming to the rescue. How about accurate reporting...resisting arrest buddy.

The people trying to leave were forced to flee into the apartment to avoid the attack. When they refused to open the unlocked door, the police kicked it in, shattering a window from the force of the blow, and began pepper spraying inside the apartment. The spray was so strong and wielded so recklessly that my friends in their upstairs apartment were coughing, and only tortured screaming could be heard from below.
Forced to flee the attack...he makes it sound like an armed home invasion... :lol: :lol: :lol:

Upon seeing the now-crying infants, the cops apparently realized they had made a grave error and left in a hurry with their three detainees. They did not apologize for the door, the trauma or the pepper spray, though they did call anonymously later in the night to see if the children were alright.
Oh, and no apology when they left...how dare! We're sorry you were violating the law. How come if this guy is so concerned he is not questioning why his friends were having such an out of control party with the kids present...how about a 51a instead of an apology.

In both cases, the police created crime rather than solving it, and then they arrested or assaulted anyone trying to point out the injustice.
What a knob this guy is :^o
 
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