activist. comedic reliever. hip-hop head. hippie. humanitarian. fitness enthusiast. food connoisseur. lover and fighter. yogaholic.
This is a statement given by a student witness from the LAPD/USC incident that occurred on May 3rd (read here). I read this on the official event page for tomorrow’s LAPD and DPS Campus Discussion (here).
My official statement: I was inspired to reach out because I witnessed first hand the obvious and undeniable racial profiling that occurred on May 3rd and at the same house a few months ago to which an excessive force of police also responded to a non-violent gathering of students. I saw students being senselessly bullied, insulted, manhandled, threatened, and terrified. We are all brothers and sisters and we must come together to stop this injustice that is shaming and harming our community and innocent people in it.
It looked like a scene from a war zone. It was outrageous and I feared for my safety because these police officers seemed to be so angry and aggressive. I never once feared for my safety at the party across the street. The police were the only people I felt threatened by, not the students who were having a peaceful, fun night.
The most blatant example of racism I witnessed happened when I walked down 23rd street to try and find a friend who had gone missing when the police aggressively cleared out the parties and caused students to panic. I walked down 23rd and got up to 23rd and Magnolia, I approached an officer who was standing in the street by his cruiser. I asked him if they had arrested anyone and what was going on. He gave me a quick reply saying he “didn’t know”, I stayed standing by him and didn’t leave. A black student saw us talking and approached the officer in the same way I had to ask a question. The officer immediately puffed out his chest, put his hand on his gun, postured aggressively, and demanded that the student show him his ID. The student took out his USC ID and the officer shouted at him “I don’t give a shit about your student ID” then continued to harass and insult the student, threatening him with arrest, ridiculing him for trying to ask questions, and acting disrespectfully. The student finally gave up trying to get information, and fearing for his safety, he left. The cop never once asked me for ID or any identifying information, he did not once raise his voice at me, or even ask me to move.
The only difference between the other student and I was race. We were treated differently by the officer because of our race. That is racism. Plain and simple, and if people are trying to cover this up or deny this, I will speak out and stand up for what is right. I will not let my fellow Trojans continue to be marginalized, judged, discriminated against, incriminated, and harassed. The party they were throwing was non-violent, controlled, and peaceful. The police response was excessive, violent, aggressive, hurtful, shameful, and anything but peaceful. If their motto is “to protect and serve” then what they did on that night was a total violation of that principle.
When the police later invaded our home without warrant or permission trying to collect witness statements, they violated our safety, and our privacy. They entered bedrooms of sleeping students, mine included, trying to collect statements to get us to confirm that what they had done was justified. Every one in our house refused to validate their response. We absolutely do not support what they did and our ashamed by the way they treated our friends and fellow students across the street.
I want the university and the LAPD to understand that we are all united in this cause, as students we must fight on as a group, not divided by race, gender, orientation, or anything at all, we must unite as a community and support each other. No one is free and no one is safe when racism clouds the judgment of those who are supposed to protect us
I am in awe of the spirit of love and unity that is alive and growing between students, but I am shocked and appalled by the comments and responses I have seen from ignorant and cowardly people who do not support our cause and who tarnish our community with their hatred. We must do better than this. On May 3rd, a friend of mine, a female student, was approached by a black male student on her way home. He told her he needed a white person to walk with because he was afraid of what the police might do to him. He walked home with her. I do not want to live in a place where any student feels unsafe walking home because of what the police might do. The best thing we can do is demonstrate to the world our support for each other, our love, our acceptance, our tolerance, so that we may lead by example, and things like this may cease to occur. And we can all live peacefully in the neighborhood we call home, and at the school we are proud to attend.
There are criminals in this community. Absolutely. I am certain that LAPD and DPS face insurmountable challenges related to those criminals. However, the students at this party were not criminals and yet they were treated like worse than criminals, they were herded like animals, beaten, arrested, insulted, and quite frankly, abused. We were all hurt and terrified, not by each other, but by those sworn to protect us. We can recover from this, but not before changes are made. The response to the party is evidence of a much larger problem. Racism is rampant here. It must be stopped. It should no longer go hidden behind the smoke and mirrors that is the spectacle of one hundred officers and the deafening sound of police helicopters. That chaotic drama was a gross over-reaction, a fear tactic, an invasion, and a embarrassment to our community. We will not be silent.