News and reports
February 27, 2004 | Page 11
Stop police brutality
CHICAGO--University of Chicago students and community members have formed the Coalition Against Police Brutality (CAP Brutality) after a recent incident of police brutality against an African American student on campus.
On January 24, University of Chicago police assaulted graduate student Clemmie Carthans as he was walking to meet a friend at her dorm. Police approached Carthans and asked him why he was in the area, where he lived and why he was out at that hour.
Carthans, while offended by the implications of this line of questioning, answered, and the officer moved on. But moments later, when Carthans approached and hugged a female friend, the officer ran back, screaming at them, and the interrogation began again.
After showing the police his student identification card, they were still not satisfied and demanded to see his driver's license. When Carthans reached for his wallet, the cop placed his hand on his gun and became more agitated.
Still not having any reason to have stopped Carthans in the first place, the cop demanded that Carthans lay in the snow. Carthans refused and the cop called for backup.
Once backup arrived, they grabbed him by the throat, threw him to the ground, punched him, and later picked him up and slammed his head into the police car three times. After all this, the police released him, and Carthans went to the emergency room.
"I didn't expect it," Carthans said of the assault. "But once it started, I thought, 'Here we go again.' I come from the West Side [of Chicago]. You get it all the time in the neighborhood, and you think you can try to get away from it."
CAP Brutality is demanding the firing of the officers involved and that police receive sensitivity training. However, Clemmie added, "it's more complex than this. This has been happening for years, being swept under the rug, and it won't go away overnight."
The group is holding a March 3 community forum at University Church and is reaching out to other organizations that are also fighting against police brutality and criminal injustice in Chicago. Later in the month, the group will march on to the campus police headquarters to turn in signatures of support and rally for their demands.
RALEIGH, N.C.--About 1,000 people protested against the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan here February 21. The Nazis tried to gather all their forces from the region, but the best that they could muster was 20. A diverse, multiracial crowd confronted them, chanting, "Not in our city, not in our state, we don't want your racist hate!"
The Klansmen hid behind their sheets and the protection of the cops while some protesters were arrested for wearing bandanas! Several progressive groups helped build the anti-Nazi protest. Many people also heard about it through media coverage.
"The Nazis go against the core of my being, and I had to be here to protest against them," one protester told Socialist Worker. Our side arrived early and stayed late while the Nazis arrived late and scampered off a few minutes before their stated end time.
Meanwhile, in nearby Goldsboro, N.C., nearly 100 farmworkers and their families rallied for immigrant rights and against Bush's proposed "guest worker" program. The Farm Labor Organizing Committee sent a message of solidarity to the activists confronting the Nazis in Raleigh and called for "consistent opposition to racism."
NEW YORK--Around 40 students and faculty from multiple schools in the City University of New York (CUNY) attended a CUNY Board of Trustees (BOT) public hearing in Brooklyn February 17 to protest last semester's $800 tuition increase. The tuition hikes have created additional financial hardships for CUNY's predominately working-class and minority student body, forcing some students to drop out altogether.
BOT members voted themselves an 18 percent pay increase at the same time that they imposed the tuition hikes. Chancellor Matthew Goldstein received a 40 percent pay increase, bringing his annual salary to $350,000--not including his $90,000-a-year stipend and his car and driver.
"I can't understand why CUNY isn't free now when it was free during the Great Depression," a student from the Borough of Manhattan Community College told BOT members. "Goldstein gave himself a $100,000 raise, and I'm pretty sure that money came from low-income students."
Many students testified by reading poems protesting the tuition hikes. Maria, a student from Hunter College, read out a poem she had prepared for the hearing:
"I work two jobs so my tuition is paid/Meanwhile, Chancellor Goldstein, you gave yourself a $100,000 raise/Us CUNY students, we're straight up getting played/You hiked the price of our education up $800/You're a bunch of thieves in white collars/We're tired of being robbed/It's time to take back what's ours."
Activists from the Student Liberation Action Movement at Hunter College have declared their determination to keep the heat on the BOT and vowed to continue raising awareness among the student body by organizing monthly protests to demand the tuition hikes be repealed.