Students Share Stories Surrounding Police Poundings!”
On the one week anniversary of the G-20
protests which were met with brutal force at the University of
Pittsburgh, the campus community joined hands to share stories of
the brutality faced by many Pitt students at the hands of police.
Many spoke out on a chilly Thursday evening of Oct 01, 09 from 5:30
p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at the William Pitt Union.
Genevieve Redd, president of the Pitt
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and sorority sister of Delta
Phi Epsilon opened the floor for students and community activists to
share their grievances and pain that they experienced during the
G-20 uprising of the police force.
Genevieve Redd gives opening
remarks before students and activists shared their stories.
Photo by Ramesh C. Reddy
"After everyone speaks we also encourage
you to go to a coffee shop. Grab the five people sitting next to you
if you still want to talk about stuff and get involved. Talk to
other people about their experiences. Tonight is a jumping point and
we want to start a process here that will lead to healing of our
community. So don't be afraid to stick around and get involved.",
Redd went on to introduce Nila Devanath,
her sorority sister and current Student Government Board (SGB)
member who thanked all those that attended Tuesday's SGB meeting and
encouraged those at the rally to come to the meetings every Tuesday
to have their concerns addressed.
"I am here to talk to you today about how
you can use the Student Government Board as a means to resolve this
[police brutality] conflict we are having of what happened during
the G-20. On Tuesday night we heard a variety of concerns regarding
the G-20 and the conduct of the police during the riots that
happened on Thursday and Friday.", said Devanath
Photo by Ramesh C. Reddy
Devanath went on to express how she was
told by Pitt police Chief Tim Delaney that the Pitt police were not
to blame because the federal police took over the jurisdiction that
resulted in the agony many students faced.
"A lot of things were misconstrued. I know
the doors got locked at one point while students are trying to go in
[to their dorms] but they couldn't so it looked like a mob was
outside and then of course you know rubber bullets, smoke, and
arrests started happening to our student body which I think is very
unfair', she said". "So, keep on fighting. Please do not stop.
I know it is going to be hard because sometimes it is hard to get
through the red tape of the administration, courts, and whatever it
is. So keep on fighting please."
Before leaving Devnanath encouraged
everyone to come to the SGB meetings that are on Tuesday at 8:45
p.m. in room 848 of the Union by saying, "Keep on voicing your
concerns and we will keep fighting for you."
Voicing his concerns is just what a male
student did at the rally.
"So we are here today under unique
circumstances . Today marks one week since something happened in
Oakland that was not right. Today marks one week of personal
confusion for many, one week of student and community outrage and
emotional [turmoil]. Today marks one week since many questions have
gone unanswered as to what happened at Pitt last Thursday and
Friday. Today we come to share our stories of what happened at
Pitt.", said the student.
Hear the male student's compelling story at
G20 Speak Out I:
His experiences were echoed by students of
different races, ethnicities, and gender.
According to accounts, the police attacked
many students with OC vapor gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and
batons as if they were criminals on a crime spree.
A distraught female student shared of her
experiences with the police even though she felt it could jeopardize
"Walking here today I realized anything
that they do to me now cant be worse than that night. September 25,
that was the night that I have ever been in so much pain for so
long; that was the the first night I have ever felt completely and
utterly helpless; that was the first night I saw girls cry because
they had to pee so bad; that was the first night I saw people
treated like animals. We were treated like criminals but not taken
seriously as criminals. Clearly we were no threat but we were
treated like one.", said the female student almost in tears.
Hear the female student's compelling story
G20 Speak Out II:
Police did not care if they injured
students badly because students of both sexes got beatings from the
police because of the failure to disperse. A freshman student shared
how a gas bomb hit her on the head resulting in continuous bleeding
and four staples to her skull. Other students shared about being
knocked down or shot with rubber bullets.
A Pitt freshman student who was trying to
be a Good Samaritan got flung by the police.
"When the police rushed the [Towers] patio,
I thought I would be able to herd all of my fellow students inside
and follow them in so they can be inside and the police can be
outside and everyone can be safe. What actually happened was that I
was grabbed by the arm and flung on the patio and arrested. He threw
me on the ground.", said the student.
Hear the freshman student's compelling
complete story at
G20 Speak Out III:
Another person shared what happened to his
back, hands, and leg after being shot multiple times by rubber
"I was shot four times with rubber bullets,
not once, not twice but four times. I think once was a deterrent
enough plus the smoke we have run through. All four shots are on my
back. I think what happened here was excessive abuse of brutality",
said the person.
Watch the video of the student's bruises at
G20 Speak Out IV:
Students were not the only ones to face
oppression as a Pitt senior shared about how his video camera was
broken and how other media persons were abused and arrested.
Hear the complete story at
G20 Speak Out V:
According to many who spoke, failing to
disperse from areas did not deserve the kind of brutality the
students and even some of the members of the media faced.
Activists from The Thomas Merton Center and
other organizations joined the Pitt-ACLU to become a voice for the
oppressed as person after person spoke.
All photos by Ramesh C. Reddy of
More coverage of the G20 protests and
its aftermath will be be published throughout the week.