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CUNY Student Group: Six Students Violently Arrested Protesting Petraeus Await Charges

“Students were punched, slammed against vehicles and against the pavement by police captains and officers, after the NYPD forced them off the pavement and into the street”

Six student activists were violently arrested yesterday outside of a City University of New York (CUNY) Macaulay Honors College fundraiser featuring former CIA Director and Honors College adjunct professor David Petraeus.

The activists have yet to receive charges, currently detained at the New York Police Department’s 20th Precinct.

They await an arraignment hearing scheduled for “between 9:00 a.m. and the afternoon at the Arraignment Court in the Manhattan Criminal Court,” according to a press release issued by the Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY.

“Students were punched, slammed against vehicles and against the pavement by police captains and officers, after the NYPD forced them off the pavement and into the street,” the press release further explains.

One student quoted in the Ad Hoc Committee’s press release explains the violent nature of the arrests juxtaposed with what they say was peaceful, non-violent protest.”As students were chanting ‘War Criminal Petraeus Out of CUNY Now,’ I was shocked to see several police officers grab and brutalize one of the demonstrators,” one male student details in the release. “This was completely unprovoked, as demonstrators made clear that they were there to defend our university in a peaceful protest.”

Others echoed this description.

“Protesters were marching in a circle on the sidewalk and chanting, but the police forced them into the street and then charged. One of the most brutal things I saw was that five police officers slammed a Queens College student face down to the pavement across the street from Macaulay, put their knees on his back, and he was then repeatedly kneed in the back,” another male student explained.

According to the press release, the beat-down was gender neutral, with one female student “heaved through the air and slammed to the ground.”

Fareed Zakaria – foreign policy advisor to President Barack Obama and host of “Global Public Square” on CNN — was also in attendance at the fundraiser. So too was Honors College Dean Ann Kirschner, who also serves as a Board member of the Apollo Group, which owns the controversial for-profit online college, Phoenix University.

The arrests come just a week after statements condemning the Petraeus protests by both Kirschner and CUNY’s Faculty Senate Executive Committee.

Update: The Hunter College Professional Staff Congress (faculty and staff union) and Faculty Delegate Association have issued a joint resolution defending the students arrested and still being held without charges. It reads as follows:

“Resolved: In light of the assault by the NYPD on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 against CUNY students who were protesting peacefully, in front of the CUNY Macaulay Honors College, the PSC Hunter Chapter and the Hunter FDA reaffirm their defense of students’ right to protest peacefully and call for all charges against the students to be dropped immediately.”

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