September 27, 2009

POLICE VIOLENCE AT THE G20: A law school classmate of mine, Curt Vaszquez, emails:

I just wanted to say that my daughter Martha, a 19 year old sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh, on Thursday night was rousted by police from the school library where she was studying, ordered to leave her belongings behind and herded into the street where she was tear-gassed, sound cannoned and hit by a plexiglass shield for exercising her right to be a young person outdoors on her campus on a pleasant fall night. I suppose I should be grateful because other kids were roughed up much worse by the police that night. This is just one aspect of the G20 that will never receive the attention it deserves. You have no idea how bad it was here.

Also, you might be interested in the linked article in which Pitt’s police chief pats himselfs on the back for his handling of the situation and cynically refers to the victims as “innocents” who chose to put themselves in harm’s way. Note the Chief’s presumption that the police have the right to break up any assembly. Very disturbing.

I regard the G20 protests as idiotic, but that doesn’t excuse police overreaction. Violent protesters deserve to be arrested, but the reaction here does seem to have been excessive.

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