For OpEdNews: Robert N Smith - Writer
From what I have seen and heard, Whoever was in charge of the police in Pittsburgh and most of the police involved with the attacks on legal protesters, students in their residence area and citizens who just happened to be nearby should be arrested, charged with Violation of civil rights, unlawful conduct and in many cases criminal assault. Just these few news clippings give the grounds for arresting the police chief and at least half of the officers and so on of conspiracy to commit violence and denial of civil rights. Who among the police is going to arrest them? It will have to be a civilian performing a citizen's arrest. What about the mayor or the military who worked hand and glove with them. What about the federal agents who help and directed them? Who planned the police response and outright riot by police against the citizens? Maybe it's time to take police powers away and let them serve warrants or give hue and cry only. Maybe it's time to disband the FBI. They seem to lead the charge in violating people's rights. Maybe it's time to take back the police powers by the citizens and lock up some of the true threats to our Constitution.
Label, a 21-year-old Pitt junior, said she was not protesting when she was arrested on the lawn of the Cathedral of Learning.
"They told us to disperse, but nobody left, and I didn't think anything of it," Label said. Then, as the situation deteriorated and police started using OC vapor and making arrests, she said she got scared and tried to leave.
"They pushed us over the bushes, and my shoe came off. I went back to get it, and I was getting pushed by those giant GI Joes. We were being treated like criminals, but they weren't taking us seriously," Label said.
"A group of soldiers stood outside the bus laughing at us. We spent five hours sitting on that bus. They stood watching us, a group of 19-, 20-, 21-year-old girls being patted down. I had to wait seven hours before being allowed to go to the bathroom. The Porta John didn't close all the way. I was humiliated. Nothing they do to me now can be worse than what they already did," Label said.
Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper was out of town and unavailable for comment, police spokeswoman Diane Richard said. Earlier this week, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said: "I think, as a group, the police responded admirably."
Lanzendorfer, 23, of Mt.Lebanon said he was in Oakland for about 15 minutes before being hurt.
"I was running down Fifth Avenue, doing nothing but trying to get away. I was scared. Everybody had the look of panic running through the smoke. Then I felt the shot on the back of my leg," said Lanzendorfer, who doesn't know if he was hit by rubber bullets or beanbags.
Hickey, an 18-year-old freshman, said she was on the patio of her residence hall, holding the door open for fleeing students, when she was arrested.
"No one on the patio was protesting. We were standing outside our residence hall. I have an offer from the Pitt police to come in to discuss dropping the charges," Hickey said.
Sara Rose, an ACLU lawyer, advised students to have an attorney with them when they meet with university police. She said the ACLU will provide legal assistance for those who ask.
Another freshman, Emily Rowe, said she was caught on the stairs between Posvar Hall and her residence hall, Litchfield Towers.
"The police below us were telling us to go up; police on the top were telling us to go down. There were about 20 students caught in the middle," said Rowe, who was not arrested but needed four staples to close a scalp laceration suffered when she was hit by an OC canister.