miércoles 29 de mayo de 2024
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New York Student Protesters denied water and food in jail

New York (The Intercept): Students arrested during the police crackdown on protests at universities in New York City last week were denied water and food for 16 hours, according to two faculty members at Columbia University’s Barnard College who collected reports from students who were inside.

Other students reported that they were beaten by New York City Police Department officers after their arrests and taken to the hospital for injuries before being returned to central booking. Photos of the injuries were provided to The Intercept.

Police arrested 282 protesters at Columbia University and the City College of New York. According to the professors, they ended up at one of two jails downtown: NYPD headquarters or the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse.

Students arrested during the crackdown said at least two of them were put in solitary confinement for three hours and others reported much longer stays, according to Barnard College professor Shayoni Mitra and a tenured faculty member who asked for anonymity to protect their livelihood.

“The conditions we’re hearing about are inhumane,” Mitra told The Intercept. “They take away the dignity of every person in there.”

The faculty members were working to support jailed students. (The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

Other students reported that they were held in mouse-infested cells, along with the general population of the jail. The students told the professors that they weren’t given water or food for 16 hours and that at least one student was left without shoes for the same period of time.

Police forces and state troopers raided university protests at dozens of campuses across the country last week. Nationwide, police have arrested more than 2,500 people, according to an arrest tracker from The Appeal.

On Monday, Columbia University canceled its main graduation ceremony citing security concerns and discussions with students. The university said it would only hold smaller celebrations for individual schools.

The Legal Aid Society, a public defense organization in New York City, called on the city’s Department of Investigation to probe at least 46 cases in which protesters were “unlawfully jailed” for low-level charges, the New York Daily News reported.

Mitra, the Barnard professor who was doing support for jailed students, said the arrests arose because of the false portrayal -pushed by the NYPD, top officials, and news media- that the protests are being organized by outside forces.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he approved the police raids after he saw a days-old photo on social media of an “outside agitator” who turned out to be a retired school teacher and grandmother.

“We have to push back really hard on this narrative that there are outside agitators and they’re treated differently than students,” Mitra told The Intercept.

After students occupied Hamilton Hall, Columbia University closed the building at midnight on April 30 and didn’t reopen it. “So, anyone who is in that building is a trespasser,” Mitra said. “According to the university, everybody in that building was an outside agitator.”

During its raid, the NYPD restricted access to campus for medics, legal observers, and journalists, in what Mitra described as a “clinical” effort to stop people from documenting the raids.

“Nobody deserves to be arrested without legal observers, medical staff and other media present. And that’s what happened,” she said.

Mitra added that students at Columbia received lighter charges than student arrested at City College, which is part of the public City University of New York system (where I am enrolled at the Graduate Center). City and State confirmed the disparities in charges in a report over the weekend.

At least 46 protesters arrested at Columbia were charged with trespassing. Twenty-two protesters at City College were charged with burglary.

The jailed students said getting information about their arrests was slow going.

“They said that was the most difficult part, just being alone,” said the tenured faculty member Barnard who supported the students. “Not knowing how much time had passed, not knowing what was happening and not getting any information. That was probably the most shocking thing.”

In the letter sent Monday to the city Department of Investigation, Legal Aid said it supported a request from City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams that the agency investigate the NYPD’s use of official social media accounts to claim that protests were linked to terrorism.

“We write to support [Adams’s] request that your office investigate the NYPD’s improper use of their social media accounts,” Legal Aid wrote, “particularly their use of social media to discredit protesters and chill future protests by making speculative claims linking them to terrorism -a clear abuse of the NYPD’s authority.”

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The Intercept

The Intercept

The Intercept, founded in 2014, investigates powerful individuals and institutions to expose corruption and injustice. It sees journalism as an instrument of civic action to demand a better world.
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