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News :: Human Rights
MIT Police Harass & Arrest Leafletter
05 Jun 2004
Biohazard.gif
Former city council candidate Aimee Smith was arrested at MIT Friday morning while handing out flyers about the South End's proposed Bio-Terrorism Lab. They distributed informational literature about the proposed "Bio-Safety Lab", a laboratory that can also be described as a BioWeapons Lab, to people arriving to attend the day's graduation ceremonies. Smith, a recent alumna of MIT, was with three other members of the Social Justice Cooperative, a recognized campus group, when she was arrested.
The group's leafletting was prompted by a scheduled address by Elias A. Zerhouni, director of the National Institutes of Health. "We weren't chanting or even protesting the speaker," Smith said. "People just took our flyers if they were interested."

Fifteen minutes after they arrived, the leafletters were told by MIT police officers, "You can't do that here." So they moved away from the barricades that had been set up to channel attendees. But this did not satisfy the police.

According to SJC member Anne Pollock, "They said not to distribute anywhere, not on Memorial Dr. or Mass Ave or anywhere on campus." Another SJC member who was present, Suzanne Nguyen, stated, "it was clear they were going after Aimee specifically and even though both of us were doing the same thing - peacefully handing out flyers and asking them why we had to leave - they just cuffed her and started carting her off."

Just before she was seized, Smith says, "one of the cops pushed up against me." She was taken to Cambridge Police headquarters in Central Square and charged with disorderly conduct and disrupting a school assembly.

At her arraignment in Third District Court, Smith was offered a deal: charges would be dropped if she paid court costs. Smith indignantly rejected the idea that court costs might be "the price of exercising first amendment rights."

Defense attorney Dan Beck told the court that his client insisted on a formal apology from MIT. The court set a date of July 7 for a pretrial hearing.

The defendant is an officer of the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party and is active in the New England Committee to Defend Palestine.

Julia Steinberger of MIT Social Justice Cooperative condemned the arrest as a "continuation of the MIT administration turning Commencement into a super-controlled policed event rather than a celebration where everyone in the MIT community is welcome."

"Two years ago," Steinberger recalled, "the head of the World Bank came. Ironically this was Aimee's graduation. MIT called in hundreds of police from five separate police departments against fewer than 50 students and activists. MIT administrators told the students that as far as they were concerned, the 'protesters were the terrorists.' As everyone can see, they still hold this dangerous belief."

The SJC flyer which caused the MIT police such consternation is headed: "Congrats '04! Food for thought while waiting to hear the NIH director," and criticizes NIH funding of a "bioweapons lab that will bring pathogens like Ebola, smallpox, and anthrax into a densely populated Boston neighborhood." The lab project, affiliated with Boston University, has sparked widespread opposition from community groups and some Boston city councilors.

The flyer continues,"NIH prioritizes funding for genomics research with no obvious health benefits over taking steps toward preventative and environmental health, which have the greatest impact on all of us. It prioritizes public/private partnerships that use your tax dollars to pad pharmaceutical profits."

See also:
http://www.ace-ej.org/Biolab.html
http://web.mit.edu/justice/

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: MIT cops harass leafletters, arrest one at graduation
05 Jun 2004
university cops have such complexes.
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
06 Jun 2004
Marc Torney, a student at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale was dealing with a similar situation: the cops bothered him for passing out flyers. The students and the free speech movement took huge steps forward with Torney's case. Check out the bigmuddyimc.org for more details.

I was very involved with the Free Torney campaign, so let me know if I can be of any help with this situation.
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
06 Jun 2004
It's ironic that a couple years ago, Aimee Smith had absolutely no compunction about storming through MIT's campus, tearing down posters she didn't like.

She didn't seem to care about the owners' first amendment rights.
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
06 Jun 2004
I have no connection to MIT, so I would be curious if the the anon. student could be more specific. For example - What sort of posters was Ms Smith storming around about? And where were they posted? I think there's a difference between offering flyers which people are free to accept or reject, and putting up posters which everyone is forced to see. There is also a difference between the acts of college students and those of college employees who are armed and deputized as police officers.
Why does it matter what kind of posters and where they were posted? Cause a right is not something that stands alone. Our first amendment rights are qualified by other legitimate rights. My rights are not absolute, other people have legitimate rights, too.
When the MIT cops harrassed the leafletters and arrested Ms Smith, whose legitimate rights were they upholding? Does the anon. student have any opinion on this?
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
07 Jun 2004
Wow...Great spin on that piece of ... well to say reporting would be a stretch. The fundemental issue is freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is right given to citizens. That right can be controlled by a party or parties that have jurisdiction in the venue which the speech is given.

MIT is clearly in control of the jurisdicition in which the Flyers where attempted to be distrubuted. Yes, the SJC is an approved group by MIT, however, even an "approved" group is bound by campus rules and regulations. Not, to mention state law.

What the members of the SJC chose to do was to use the graduation cermony for there own political purposes on MIT property. If MIT police arrest someone for not doing what an officer legally has a right and duty to order it is a simple fact that an arrest is inevitable.

For college educated people some protesters can do real stupid things. It is obvious that the protesters have taken the time to educate themselves on matters of bio-weapons. I think it is time for any protester to study Policing to know what appropriate police action is and is not. Unless of course you love being martyrs for you cause of the day.

So much for a quick comment.

BOB Gorman
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
07 Jun 2004
Hey, Bob,

Perhaps you were unaware of the Enlightenment traditions upon which this country was built, but rights are not "given" by an external entity like the U.S. government.

Rights are inherant or "natural" in human beings. The societies humans create may agree to regulate these rights for various reasons--for example, the current vogue in this part of human history for holding "private property" sacrosanct--but the rights are there nonetheless. Read some Rousseau, Bob, and you'll get the idea. [Of course, objectivist and right-wing libertarian wags have concocted the idea that there is a "natural right to private property", but that is a discussion for another day.]

So, at the moment in these United States, if enough people agree that the rights of the owners of "private property" trump the right of free speech in most situations, then people like Ms. Smith can be arrested for expressing themselves at MIT's graduation.

But, by the same token, if more people agree that the ability to exercise one's free speech rights non-violently is far more important than MIT's right to have its little graducation party, then it's tough cookies for MIT.

Since Ms. Smith has been arrested, it is now up to the courts to decide which party is right in this case. But doubtless, the courts will let Ms. Smith off, although they will not be willing to challenge the owners of private property in any significant way at this juncture.

Also, Bob, while we're on the subject of prviate property, it's fairly likely that MIT extends a certain expanded set of privileges to members of its own community while they are on its private property.

Ms. Smith is an alumna of MIT, and generally speaking, institutions of higher learning like MIT--private or not--hold their alumni in great esteem, and afford them with all or most of the privileges that their current student body and staff are granted.

So, it is passing strange that they should choose to pick on Ms. Smith--an alumna, and more importantly, a future donor to MIT--unless she was saying something that perhaps demonstrated a certain lack of community spririt on MIT's part.

That is, MIT invited a speaker in the highest position of authority from a government agency that is trying to build a very dangerous lab in a very heavily populated area in downtown Boston. And if said lab has an accident or is the target of a terror attack, then all of us here in the Boston area--you (one assumes) included, Bob--could die a horrible death.

You might just want to chew on that one for a while after you're done reflecting on the intellectual tradition that built American democracy, Bob.
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
07 Jun 2004
Mr Gorman appears to be a law student. He seems to appreciate the way in which rights are modified by the particular circumstances in which they are exercised.

I want him to explain which laws decree that campus police have unqualified jurisdiction over the use of a public sidewalk located on the edge of the campus of a land-grant college.

I would like him to reveal, since the M.I.T. administration has not, what rules and regulations were being enforced on Friday, June 4th. And also furnish citations as to which state law he believes was being violated.

He might also furnish the Middlesex D.A.'s office with those cites, since that office did not want to prosecute the case.

Perhaps Mr Gorman didn't really intend to raise a legal. In that case, I would argue that it is the citizen's duty not to accept 'inevitable' arrest for peaceful exercise of free speech on a college campus. This is not a right so much as a duty.

It's disappointing that someone with Mr Gorman's superior knowledge of science and ethics would think that Constitutional rights are 'given' to us. That theory is OK is for the SUBJECTS of an empire, not for the CITIZENS of a democratic republic.

A democratic republic is no utopia. What rights we have were seized by others before us, who resisted arbitrary police control over their behavior. Yes, we are 'given' rights, but as a heritage that people paid dearly for, not by grace of some anointed ruler. And we only keep those rights, and pass them on, if there are people among us who are willing to exercise them and fight for them. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Use it or lose it.

Until recently, passing out flyers at M.I.T. graduations did not entail 'martyrdom. This is all these people were doing on Friday, June 4th. Possibly Mr Gorman would agree that this was not something that should lead to their harassment and arrest. Perhaps that's why he uses the term 'protester,' with its connotations of loud and disruptive behavior.
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
07 Jun 2004
Re: Bob Gorman

"campus rules and regulations"

There are no known campus rules and regulations banning flyer distribution.

The police immediately told us to leave campus despite our legitimate purposes there. Not even "can you move a litte further" or "it's legal past this line" or whatever. (Probably because it was legal where we were.) We were peaceful, nonobstructive, and friendly. Are you saying they legally had a right to do this? Did they legally have a right to refuse to say their badge numbers when asked? Did they legally have a right to push themselves against us and assault Aimee?
Further, we were on the sidewalk, which is officially public property. One of the deans at MIT, when first hearing the story, said "flyering must be done on the sidewalk." When he was told we were on the sidewalk, he said "oh."

All this a moot point of course... this defensive-pro-police posturing and presumption-of-guilt thinking cannot be remedied by more testimony from myself (who was there) because it will just be taken as a spin, or I will simply not be believed.

What I propose is that all cops-have-a-right-to-do-that and etc. thinkers do the experiment themselves. (And the background reading on rules and regulations, the Constitution, and the law.)
Go to MIT during commmencement, stand on the sidewalk which is public property, greet the commencement goers in a friendly way, and hand out flyers that have some lefty political purpose. See how the cops treat you and decide for yourself if what they do is legal.

I have to add the content of the flyers had little to do with the incident as the police didn't even bother to read them. It was just clear that we were activists; at least some of us are well known on campus as activists.

To make a fair comparison, as they were rougher on Aimee, who wears a hijab, and immediately rude to me (who is not white) but apparently not as rude to my other friends who are both white, you might not get the full cop treatment we did. (I don't know anything about you other than your name, so I can't tell for sure.) I doubt they would treat you the same way if you appear pro-establishment and you were handing out American flags...

Also since we are working on making the campus clarify its stance on free speech (rather an embarrassing situation for a university professing to encourage critical thinking etc) maybe you will be lucky in that come the next Commencement, the campus cops know a bit more about the First Amendment.
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
07 Jun 2004
>"campus rules and regulations"
>
>There are no known campus rules and regulations >banning flyer distribution.

Please. Obviously there are guidelines about what can be distributed on campus.

That is besides the point. We're not hearing the entire story. The police will have to present some justification for the arrest. I'd like to hear what they have to say before passing judgement.

Unfortunately, given Mrs. Smith's past self-aggrandizement, I need to take this one with a grain of salt.
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
07 Jun 2004
Messrs. Anon. MIT Student, Gorman, and Anon., all seem to agree that the facts in my story need to be supplemented. They are readers of Indymedia and take the trouble to comment on what they read. They seem to be part of the M.I.T. community, if there is such a thing. [The leafletters seem to think there is, but given M.I.T.'s self-aggrandizement, I need to take that with a grain of something stronger than salt.]

My suggestion is this. Why not get together and write a story of your own? This is the first time I ever posted anything to Indymedia Boston and believe me, this open-source publishing is easy. You can do it, too.

Call the M.I.T. Police and get their version. You can't wait for them to come forward, because if the case is dropped, their side may never be heard.

Call the administration, President Vest's office. Tell them you would like to defend them against the slanders of the vainglorious Dr Smith, but to do that you need to know what statutes and regulations the M.I.T. Police were trying to enforce and why these needed to be enforced in this way at this time.

We happily all agree that First Amendment rights are worth having, and also that it is important to know exactly what happened and why.

I await the results of your investigations with sincere interest.
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
07 Jun 2004
Hey, judging form the ridiculous comments here, there are a lot of unknowns. We should all be calling the administration and asking for answers to these questions so that we can make more educated comments and stop acting like fools. So, I agree with the author of the article: call and find out the facts and write an article.
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
07 Jun 2004
Since reading this notice for the first time, I have
learned of some additional information that suggests that
Aimee Smith was not entirely within her rights when she
distributed fliers on Memorial Drive. Based on the
attestation of several witnesses, Smith was actually inside
the police cordon that marks the boundary of the graduation
procession route along Memorial Drive. This fenced-off
area was reserved, by legitimate application to the town of
Cambridge, for use in the MIT graduation activities. Smith
was apparently asked to leave the cordon, then returned
again to a separate location, also within the cordon, at
which point she was arrested. None of this seems to me to
be out of keeping with her first-amendment rights.
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
07 Jun 2004
God I Love this Country... Where else can I get a free education from one "Post". I am so glad i posted. . I chose to post in a venue that I would be preaching to the choir.

btw. my freedom of speech does not stretch to this venue and I thank the moderator for posting it. I am not connected with MIT in any manner that I am aware of. I am not a law student. It was my choice to state my name in partial disclosure unlike others who rightfully so prefer to be anonymous.

Someone posted "university cops have such complexes" I would agree the younger ones do. They still feel a need to prove something. The younger U- cops also usually take a university job to get the training that is required of all police officers in the state of massachusetts. If you think the university cops are bad now..you should have seen them in the 80's

"Enlightenment traditions upon which this country " Oh you must be speaking of traditions like Heterosexual marriage, lets just stick to that tradition and not allow same sex marriages.

"So, it is passing strange that they should choose to pick on Ms. Smith--an alumna." (anonymous)
Strange, NO. I don't the subject of the arrest at all. The cops probably chose to arrest her because x,y,z. The point I am make is not one of intellectual exploration, but of the reality of a situation. The Cops can do anything to anyone as long as they can document that the arrest was made in accordance to the training and experience taught to them. So don't piss them off directly be smart, know what the can and can't do in a realistic point of view not just soley from a legal point of view. It could be just Payback.

"I want him to explain which laws decree that campus police have unqualified jurisdiction over the use of a public sidewalk located on the edge of the campus of a land-grant college."(bill/etwee)

bill,
The jurisdiction is based on a change in the 90's I believe when The college police system was mandated by the state to being trained as municiple police. The Land Grant issue is not one of criminal law but one of Civil jurisdiction. Yes, I know your going to say "land Grant" is defacto public property and a trespassing can not be charged. What you fail to acknowledge is a concurrent jurisdiction to the curtiledge of any campus ( I forget the yardage). The Cops can and do arrest members of the public on various charges that don't past the laugh test at bar, but will not put the officer a risk of civil assesment (law suit). That is the reality of your position.

"Are you saying they legally had a right to do this? Did they legally have a right to refuse to say their badge numbers when asked? Did they legally have a right to push themselves against us and assault Aimee?" (suzanne)

Suzanne,
I cannot authoritatively say they had a right to tell you legally. I would bet they didn't have to reveal there badge numbers or name as it is usually used to verify I.D. via phone for administrative functions. Try asking the officer his/her radio I.D. number (like One,adam,twelve). The radio ID number is a matter of public record usually 48 hours after shift. All agencies I know keep track of officers actions by using this radio ID number. Officer are trained to use force in the appropriate manner according to training and experience. If the officer tells you to leave an you don't he can occupy a space in which you are standing and was told to leave. If in the officer's realtime opinion a lower use of force would not expidite the orders given than a hight use of force is appropriate. Ex. If one of the persons told to leave campus has a significant prior criminal/regulatory experience with the police then that can be used as cause to use a higher level of force needed (assualt and battery, Arrest).

While on the subject of A/b you should realize that the crime of assualt is putting one in fear of imminent bodily harm. Assualt and battery is the actual unlawful contact of another person with intent to do bodily harm. A police officer is legally empowered to have contact with people in the course of their duties, which removes the intent part of the crime. I know it sounds weird, but unless later adjudicated the officers contact is seen as control and/or custody not intent to do bodily harm.

There are ways to protect yourself and make the officer look foolish in the department's eyes and the public's, but I can't reveal them due to issues of solidarity with brother/sisters in blue which are furthing the "Cause" of peace.

Cops are empowered with duties that trump your perceived rights. If you don't think so Sue there butts and hope they don't have a homesteader clause on their house, but get in line most veteran officers have had or will have many complaints against them.

BOB gorman
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
07 Jun 2004
I'm sorry that Elaine Reed feels that she's had enough of these foolish comments, because I have some more wisdom to impart, and someone is sure to say something else foolish in reply.

But seriously -- I found some of Bob's comments useful, at least in narrowing down what's at issue.

Bob points out the arbitrary power that is placed in the hands of the police. This is a given with the role they must play in society. Often enough cops will take advantage of this to get away with stuff. But that don't make it right, Bob.

In a democratic republic though, citizens have a DUTY not take this arbitrary power of police for granted. Power that is not challenged quickly grows bolder, and -- bye, bye republic, hello tyranny.

And since we know the police exercise arbitrary powers, all the more important that responsible officials - in this case, the M.I.T. administration - set clear guidelines on the use of force, in order to protect our rights and encourage us in our duties.

I come back again to this, which no one has so far answered: What possible harm were these leafletters doing to M.I.T.? The charges against Aimee Smith, "disorderly" and "disturbing a school assembly" are, in any common sense reading, false. If she was doing nothing harmful that could be made the subject of a charge against her, then I repeat: what harm was she doing to M.I.T.?

I hope there are some lawyers out there who read this site and are willing to weigh in. But as I understand it the concurrent jurisdiction Bob is talking about means Cambridge cops can pursue and arrest on campus. The M.I.T. and other universities' police can act elsewhere in the city by virtue of being deputized by the Sheriffs of Middlesex County. I believe this practice began before the 1990s.

What counts here is that the M.I.T. police can't enforce M.I.T.'s rules and regulations outside the campus. Can they?

The question raised by M.I.T. being a land-grant college, is not about jurisdiction, but about whether this modifies the kinds of rules that can be made, for example, restricting free speech.

And of course, there's: What ARE those rules, anyway?

There is no special criminal jurisdiction for M.I.T., the criminal code is the same everywhere in the state. Aimee Smith was charged with offenses under that code, without reference to M.I.T.'s rules and regulations.

Smith and her fellow leafletters say that they were outside the barriers erected to separate the M.I.T. graduation activities.

If there were other, less obvious barriers, it was the duty of the police to point them out. No one has claimed that four leafletters posed a terrible and immediate danger that had to be dealt with summarily.
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
10 Jun 2004
See related article titled "Bad Communication, Ignorance, and Campus Bureaucracy: A quest for Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s leafleting policy." locate on the Boston IMC site under other press.
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
11 Jun 2004
This is of limited relevance, but just to correct some basics:

bob gorman wrote:
> The younger U- cops also usually take a
> university job to get the training that is
> required of all police officers in the state
> of massachusetts.

MIT Campus Police ALL have at least 3 years of police experience before coming to MIT; they are fully academy trained and are deputy county sheriffs and have the full powers as state police, with regard to crimes committed on campus.

bob gorman also wrote:
> The jurisdiction is based on a change in the
> 90's I believe when The college police system
> was mandated by the state to being trained as
> municiple police.

MIT Campus Police have had these full powers for quite a while, at least as far back as 1980, probably well before.
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
11 Jun 2004
Thanks, Don for the clarification. My first statement you cited was a result of a discussion with three different ranking police officers at two different University (not MIT) campuses about a decade ago. They were frusterated at the turnaround of officers (mostly minority) that had worked the job for 2 or 3 years and had taken a postition with a municiple dept. with better wages, benefits and stature. Then the departments would be accused of not having enough minority officers to represent the student body and faculty.

On the second of my statements quoted I am surprised that the MIT officers may have attended the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council mandated full time "boot camp" style police academy in the 80's. I can say however that an MIT ranking PO was an instructor at the academy I had to attend for in-service training.

Since you have a lot of information about MIT maybe you can help us determine just what is considered the limits of your jurisdiction. does the jurisdiction end at the property lines of MIT or is there a issue of curtiledge. The question was posed by Suzzane I believe.

Stay safe!
bob gorman


Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
by Don
(No verified email address) 11 Jun 2004
This is of limited relevance, but just to correct some basics:

bob gorman wrote:
> The younger U- cops also usually take a
> university job to get the training that is
> required of all police officers in the state
> of massachusetts.

MIT Campus Police ALL have at least 3 years of police experience before coming to MIT; they are fully academy trained and are deputy county sheriffs and have the full powers as state police, with regard to crimes committed on campus.

bob gorman also wrote:
> The jurisdiction is based on a change in the
> 90's I believe when The college police system
> was mandated by the state to being trained as
> municiple police.

MIT Campus Police have had these full powers for quite a while, at least as far back as 1980, probably well before.
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
11 Jun 2004
An account of the incident given by The Tech, MIT's student-run newspaper, can be found here (link to the entire June 11 2004 edition of The Tech in PDF format). The name of the article is "Police Arrest Alum at Grad. Ceremony." It is an interesting read.
Re: MIT Security Officers Harass & Arrest Leafletter
11 Jun 2004
This stuff is happening on campuses across the country. See http://www.bigmuddyimc.org/newswire/display/194/index.php and http://www.trumanindex.com/news/2004/04/28/News/Amnesty.Event.Leads.To.S for more details on how students at Truman State University have fought for free speech on campus.
Re: MIT Police Harass & Arrest Leafletter
12 Jun 2004
Regarding the article in the Tech, I was misquoted. I was quoted as saying "I was frozen because I didn't want to get arrested," which is neither true nor what I said to the Tech reporter. I said that Aimee and I were *both* frozen because we were not sure what to do, and were confused, because two police officers were pushing themselves up against Aimee. Before we could even respond, they pulled out their handcuffs and arrested her.
In fact I was not sure why they were treating Aimee differently than myself, given we were doing the same thing. Honestly the only thing I can think of, is Aimee wears a head scarf.

Afterward they told me they would arrest me too if I didn't leave. The reason the distinction is important, is the MIT police claim that Aimee
was doing something different than what I was doing, in order to retroactively "justify" her arrest.

I feel that the Tech's misquoting of me contributes to this false impression that is being willfully propagated by MIT Police Chief DiFava and his police department.
I also add that I was present, as were other commencement volunteers and goers, at the arrest, and the claims by the police of what Aimee was saying or doing are easily refutable. I am sorry the reporter from the Tech neglected toinclude my recollection regarding what actually happened at the arrest.
Re: MIT Police Harass & Arrest Leafletter
12 Jun 2004
Suzanne,
Thank you for posting. The best thing to do would be to write to The Tech and have them put your writing in the next issue, though I don't know OTOH when the next issue is published (is The Tech running on its usual semester schedule?). I figure you have probably done this already, though. Thank you for clarifying.
Re: MIT Police Harass & Arrest Leafletter
12 Jun 2004
The police are puppets for the rich.
Having a bio-research lab anywhere near Boston is idiotic.
If eboli ever gets out?
May Bob Gorman be the first to contract it!
Re: MIT Police Harass & Arrest Leafletter
13 Jun 2004
The following is an old post but if you substitute UMASS for MIT the theme of police and student body working out the differences are still valuable

bob gorman


Re: Professor Arrested at UMass Boston -
by bob
bcibob670 (nospam) aol.com (unverified) 19 Dec 2003
This subject has been well discussed on this forum and I have tried to just accept that we agree to disagree on Professor Van Der Meer's conduct, the Police officers conduct and the appropriateness of the actions on the day of the incident that resulted in the arrest of Mr. Van Der Meer.

I can see that to have a rational discussion of this matter is pointless. I would suggest that those of you who feel Mr. Van Der Meer was treated unfairly and possibly unlawfully by the police should focus on the subject of the conduct of the police on this campus. To continually support Mr. Van Der Meer in his personal battle may not accomplish as much if you do not continue educate yourselves and to voice your opinion on the subject of police conduct on the UMASS Campus.

As I am admittedly an advocate for the Police you might not expect me to invite further scrutiny of the actions, operation, policy and procedures of the Campus police. I have confidence in the results of such scrutiny on the Campus police by those who spend the time and effort to really understand how Policing is done.

There are those of you that would rather complain about matters they know little about than really face the issue of policing and learn what good and bad policing is. I say consider someone with no academic background scrutinizing the staff, budget, administrators (bulger), policies and procedures of the UMASS system and complaining of misuse of authority, misallocation of public funds, and further abuses which result in assaulting the student community with outrages fees, prerequisites and tuition. Anyone who made such allegations about the academic community on and uninformed basis would be revealed as having a hidden agenda.

I ask you, the people on this list to explain to me why I do not hear a defense for Prof. Van Der Meer from those professors and experts in the matters of criminal justice at UMASS. It is my opinion (based on a career of law enforcement) that any criminal justice (CJ) professor that evaluated the elements of what happened the day Mr. Van Der Meer was arrested would not risk their reputation to defend the allegedly unlawful actions of Mr. Van Der Meer. The CJ professors would see the issue as black and white (no pun intended) and conclude the police actions were right.

I plead with the UMASS community to work with the campus police to make our learning experience all that it should be for the benefit of the Students of UMASS. If there is actual misconduct by any employees of UMASS let corrective action be taken. Go to this rally and support Prof. Van Der Meer as I hope you would help anyone who is in trouble and needs moral support. I would further suggest that equal time be given for a conference to address issues between the police, students and the professors. Please, do not let rumors, ignorance, innuendo, and hidden agendas stain this tapestry of intellectual brotherhood. Let this institution of higher learning demonstrate the ideals that all enlightened peoples desire for our world.

I will reiterate my earlier assessment. I know I am not preaching to the choir here but it is important. I support and applaud Professor Van Der Meers right to engage in mediating a dispute between students and the individual national guardmans that did a dishonor to the uniform and the unit by behaving the way he did. I do not support and I deplore the alleged assault on the police officer that had authority, training and duty superior to Professor Van Der Meer in keeping the peace in the dispute between the students and the Individual National Guardsman. In the situation the Police followed correct procedures in using the kind and amount of force upon the students and Professor Van Der Meer when their own personal safety was in question.

You should be focusing on the issues of the campus and not the general gripes of groups that have attached themselves to this petition. Why should a professor be treated any differently than any other citizen? Is the answer that he is an academic and the concept of academic freedom allows him to ignore competent authority on the U mass campus? If there are actual experiences on UMASS campus by students and faculty that call into question the UMASS police conduct and integrity they should each be documented and presented to the police chief or chancellor gora for when that is done progress will be made. Students and faculty should never be put in a situation when they fear the police and if policy needs to be changed to do that then the people need to keep the administration aware of the problem without bringing in radical groups issues that only serve to cloud the original purpose of the petition.


I applaud the efforts of all those mentioned in the mediation of Prof. Van Der Meers criminal charges made against him. As was stated "A judge ratified an agreement (for “pretrial probation”) under which all the charges against Tony Van Der Meer were essentially dropped," (Tony naro) I would agree that this was an amicable resolution. Prof. Van Der Meer is still held responsible for his criminal conduct that went beyond that of a Professor or US Citizen. Pretrial Probation is not essentially dropping charges by any definition (notice the word probation). It simply means responsibility is accepted and the matter is resolve and justice is done.

I would suggest that when Mr. Naro say's "Despite today's victory, the battle for justice is not over." People listen and act. Do not let relations between the student body and the safety and security forces at UMASS Boston deteriorate any further. If Mr. Naro wants to secure what he calls justice he and others should be vigilante of the conduct of the police and address problems when they arise. Waiting for an explosive situation to bring attention to perceived injustices is merely a dangerous ploy and seldom prudent.

Every incidence of perceived injustice as a result of contact with the UMASS Campus police and/or Security should be documented and immediately have grievances submitted to the police chief or designee for redress. If the action or inaction of the police chief does not satisfy the sense for justice the incident can be reported to the asst. dean for student affairs via a form that will compile data and attempt to further satisfy the need for justice. The assistant deans office enacted this Student contact form just this October so you may not be aware of it. The school and police dept. appear to be making every effort be responsive to the students needs.

Mr. Naro your narrative of the incident laughable, but that a dead subject. Use it for what ever political purpose you like while maintaining some integrity. Your ignorance of proper police procedure is going to hurt you in your civil suit if there is one. You connect what Professor Van Der Meer did with the obliteration of Civil Rights by the Patriot Act because the Campus police responded to a disturbance and had taken action. Your obvious sense of conspiracy in this matter is way out of step with reality and does a disservice to those who are truly being violated by the federal government as a result of the tools police have to carry out investigations were expanded as a result of the the Patriot Act.

As for your post-script "Police Lie" Clarification needs to be made. I will make it for you. Not all police lie. Some police do lie. Some Ex-police officers have comitted Perjury. In certain circumstance police are taught to lie and conceal the truth. Before you jump on the conspiracy wagon again let me say an undercover officer lies quite a bit in the performance of his/her duty. The public often approves of these lies by accepting testimony of the undercover officer without reservation. I use to lie to suspects and victims alike. I would tell dying victims they would be OK. I would lie to a suspect to get information or a confession. Take for instance when dealing with a child molester I would lie to them and tell them I understand why they did what the did to little Tony. When in fact I only wanted to develop a rapport with him to get him to talk. So you see Mr. Naro the reason for cops lying are not always sinister and unjustified.

bob
Re: MIT Police Harass & Arrest Leafletter
21 Jun 2004
Read update here:
"MIT Admits it Has No Policy, But Forcibly Enforces It Anyway"
http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/22374/index.php

and read the Thistle!
http://web.mit.edu/thistle
Re: MIT Police Harass & Arrest Leafletter
23 Jun 2004
Make sure ya'll work around this obstical

CHAPTER 56. VIOLATIONS OF ELECTION LAWS


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CERTAIN PRACTICES FORBIDDEN
Chapter 56: Section 41 Unsigned circulars and posters; posting or distribution

Section 41. No candidate for nomination or election to public office or any other person shall write, print, post or distribute, or cause to be written, printed, posted or distributed, a circular or poster designed to aid or defeat any candidate for nomination or election to any public office, or designed to aid or defeat any question submitted to the voters, unless there appears upon such circular or poster in a conspicuous place either the names of the chairman and secretary, or of two officers, of the political or other organization issuing the same, or of some person eighteen years of age or older who is responsible therefor, with his name and residence, and the street and number thereof, if any.

Violation of this section shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than six months.


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