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    Posted April 15, 2009 by
    Dogood16
    Location
    Waterville, Maine
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    iReport for CNN

    Excessive Force Used in the Unjustified Arrest of Colby College Students

     

    WATERVILLE -- Police and Colby security brutalized three Colby College students early Easter Sunday morning.

     

    From the accounts of many on-scene students, the arrested students were seeking the reasons that Colby’s Security Guards were attempting to remove an African-American student from the Students Organized for Black and Hispanic Unity (SOBHU) Room in the Student Center. To justify this, a Colby Security Guard said that the student needed immediate medical care for a BAC under 0.1, a condition making medical care unnecessary. Student #1 entered the SOBHU room and was concerned for his friend, who was surrounded by the security guards and Colby Emergency Response (CER).  According to a witness, after asking the allegedly sick student about the situation, Colby Security initiated physical action on the student by pushing him out of the room. Colby Security and Waterville Police Chief Joe Massey claim that the students were interfering with a medical evaluation by Colby Emergency Response EMTs’. The CER unit did not express a need for action to be taken on the first student, and also did not express any interference by the student with their evaluation. Following this unnecessary physical action Student #1 verbally expressed his discontent with being shoved, and according to many eyewitnesses never initiated any physical action. The security officers confirmed this claim. From a Security account, the Security Guard felt threatened by the student “flailing his arms” during this verbal address.  The security officer proceeded to take this student to the ground, eventually causing him to bleed from the head.  Colby Security very quickly became less concerned with the “ill” student that they claimed they were initially trying to protect.

     

    Additionally, while Police and news agencies have reported that both students were interfering with medical treatment, the “ill” student was no longer on the scene when Student #2 arrived. This student was also taken to the ground and subdued by 3 Colby Security Guards. Many eyewitnesses report that again no physical action was taken by the student.  At least 11 police cruisers from 6 jurisdictions surrounded the building to assist security with two students who had not taken violent action. (Note: last year only 2 police cruisers were seen after an attempted kidnapping).

     

    When police arrived on scene they found the subdued students yelling "I am not resisting, I am not resisting, please, please, I am not resisting." The other screamed "I’m bleeding, let me go, let me go, I'm bleeding!"  After the two students who had been subdued for a significant amount of time by campus security, Police who had arrived on the scene began to mace the second student.  Additionally the Police attempted to remove witnesses from the situation with threats of arrest. Following the incident Police refused to provide their badge numbers and were heard saying, “I would’ve tasered them, but there were too many witnesses.” Police arrested these students for assault, a charge that is contended by many witnesses, and criminal trespassing while in their own Student Center.

     

    Police proceeded to take physical action upon numerous other Colby Students, as they were retreating from the scene. As uninvolved Colby students were walking through campus, away from the scene, Police threatened students with arrest for not walking fast enough. As made evident by numerous physical cuts and bruises on Colby students, additional force was used on those uninvolved.

     

    At least half an hour later, after the situation had dissolved, one Colby student walked to the security office to seek an explanation on behalf of many Colby students. According to eyewitnesses, as the student asked for an explanation, and expressed that he wanted to make sure that there were witnesses for any events that would follow as the Police walked around campus. Police asked him to stop and put his hands behind his head and student complied as a police officer approached him and threw him to the ground. He was handcuffed and taken to prison on charges of disorderly conduct after reportedly seeking explanations.

     

    Following the incidents Waterville Chief of Police, Joe Massey, attributes most of the nights actions to the fact that alcohol was involved. The fact is that the Colby students arrested, all over 21, and had BAC’s under the legal limit.

     

    We hope you are awestruck by the actions of both Colby Security and the responding police forces. If you have any questions about these testimonies, please post your concerns and we will bring you into contact with many witnesses. As other articles have been largely influenced by the accounts of authority figures who’s actions may have put them in a compromising position, its tone incriminates Colby students far further than those responsible for far worse actions.

     

    Since the incident, a student run organization, Colby United, has been formed to defend the rights of these students. A rally on the Colby academic quad attracted hundreds of Colby students and others, to hear the testimonies of many affected by the incident. The response by Colby administration has not led to suspension of the security guards involved during the school’s ongoing investigations. Additionally, neither Colby nor the Police involved have made a public apology.

     

    The statement below was released by Colby United and expresses both their grievances and calls to action.

     

    “We are all upset and hurt by the recent events regarding the unnecessary and overly aggressive conduct towards students that resulted in the detainment, arrest, and physical harm of three Colby students. The actions of the parties involved, including Campus Security, local law enforcement agencies, and students illustrate a greater problem of lack of communication, lack of trust, and a lack of common respect within our community.

    As the student body of Colby College, we have a collective grievance concerning:

    1. The excessive use of force by the law enforcement agencies and Colby College Security on the students involved in the incident.

    2. The mismanagement of public relations by the Colby College Communications Office regarding the incident on Sunday, April 12, 2009 at approximately 1:30 am in the Pugh Center, especially the misleading statements released to the press by the Communications Office.

    3. The constant mistreatment of Colby College students by Colby College employees, mainly security.

    4. The misapplication of standard security protocol, which includes: the aggressive nature of the security officers and police officers responding to the incident, the unnecessary use of mace on a submissive and detained student, security officers issuing threats of physical violence towards by-standing students, as well as the verbal threatening of by-standing students by police officers, and finally lack of medical attention for the detained students.

    As full members of the Colby College community, we call for the following actions:

    1. A public apology from the President’s office, the Dean’s Office and Colby College Security Department to the student body, especially towards the three arrested students.

    2. Financial support for the arrested students who will and have already incurred legal costs.

    3. The suspension of the involved security officers for the duration of the investigation by Colby College or the reassignment of those officers to less potentially volatile working hours such as weekday, daytime hours.

    4. An open forum with President Adams, Campus Security, and other administration officials to discuss student grievances regarding the latest incident on Sunday, April 12, 2009 as well as planned future actions of the college in redressing the student body’s concerns.

    5. Open communication by the administration and transparency of the ongoing investigation into misconduct of all parties involved in the Sunday morning incident.

    6. Stricter scrutiny and oversight of Colby College Security protocol especially the use of force by officers.

    7. The establishment of a Colby College Student Bill of Rights for future interactions between students and security officers.

    Our overarching goal is to create mutual trust, respect and accountability throughout the greater community in which we reside. As we move forward in pursuing positive change on campus, we must remember that this is not an isolated incident. We have a long term and complex process of healing and problem solving ahead of us. We must remember the gravity of the issues we face and that as a united community we will prevail.”

     

    It is the hope of the Colby community that a broad awareness of these events will help to ensure justice.


     

    NOTE: ALL INFORMATION PROVIDED IS BACKED BY STUDENT WITNESS TESTIMONIES.

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