Students Argue Police Acted Improperly at G20 Protest
By Meryl Dakin and Levi Pine
Now that the dust has settled on the roughly 7,000 person strong G-20 protest at the University of Pittsburgh, many are crying foul over police conduct towards student protesters and bystanders.
Last week, protesters from around the country, many of whom were college students, demonstrated outside the G-20 economic summit held at the University of Pittsburgh campus. Among their objections to the meetings were complaints that such important economic decisions are made by a handful of people behind closed doors.
While the protest itself has gotten widespread coverage already, many protesters and reporters are now accusing the police force of acting improperly and targeting students. Central Connecticut State University student Jeff Bartos was among the 110 arrested, and is one of the plaintiffs in the ACLU case to be brought against Pittsburgh and its police.
According to the Associated Press, University of Pittsburgh Police Chief Tim Delaney acknowledged that some of the students arrested “were just trying to get into [their] dormitories.”
66 students have joined the Facebook Group “I got tear-gassed at Pitt”. The group’s description reads “[This group is] for everyone who saw the ridiculous, unprovoked attacks by police on students.”
Oberlin College student Stella Byrne told that students were disproportionately victims of excessive police force.
“Cops probably outnumbered students three-to-one. [They] chased students onto campus and shot them with rubber bullets in the quad,” said Byrne over the phone. “Thursday night was totally horrifying to see because nobody was expecting this level of violence. [Students] were coming home from parties and getting gassed.”
“The line was blurred between protesters and citizens,” explained Byrne, who said that the police used tear gas, pepper spray, smoke bombs, dogs, and helicopters to control crowds.
"Some man who came up to us…said if we didn't leave, they would tear gas us," said Pitt student Angela Gorno.
Byrne described how riot police surrounded several hundred people and threatened tear gas if they did not disperse, and then “made it completely impossible to leave.” A video of the incident is posted on the Pittsburgh Police Brutality blog.
A petition from Democracy In Action has 1185 signatures, requesting that all charges against protesters be dropped, and that the City of Pittsburgh launch an investigation on police tactics at the protests.
More from Kent State University’s Kent News Net
More from the “I got tear-gassed at Pitt” Facebook group
More from the Pittsburgh Police Brutality blog
More from the New Britain Herald
More from the AP
More from the Pitt News at the University of Pittsburgh on the use of tear gas, acoustic weapons, and the city investigation into police conduct