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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Protesters decry police brutality

    Protesters gathered in front of the Pima County Public Library last night before marching on the Tucson Police Department headquarters in protest of officer brutality.
    Protesters gathered in front of the Pima County Public Library last night before marching on the Tucson Police Department headquarters in protest of officer brutality.

    About 30 people pedaled or walked their way through the streets of Tucson last night, ending up on the lawn of the Tucson Police Department as part of a national campaign to expose police brutality.

    Members of the groups Tucsonans Against Police Squads and Copwatch International began their march at the University of Arizona Police Department station, 1852 E. First St., and then continued on bike to the Joel D. Valdez Library, 101 N. Stone Ave., where people took turns speaking about violent encounters they have had with police.

    Lazarus Dubois, a UA political science alumnus, said he has heard of and seen students being attacked by UAPD.

    “”I watched a UAPD officer pushing a woman away, push her by the breast,”” he said.

    “”I have also personally been attacked by police in protest and falsely accused,”” he said. “”That ruined my life for a really long time and that is all because of police that were stretching the truth and making up stories.””

    Other demonstrators said they also witnessed police use force on peaceful protesters.

    “”I have seen a lot of police brutality,”” said Che Hise-Gattone, a City High School sophomore. “”Random firings at protesters and protesters getting hauled away in handcuffs. I don’t agree with cops that use violent actions.””

    “”If it is a peaceful protest, then the use of heavy action should not be allowed,”” said Guinn Montes, a City High School sophomore. “”It is really useless because it gets people angry and increases the violence level.””

    Demonstrators said a history of police using inappropriate force on protesters and everyone else is an abuse of power.

    “”The police represent control instead of protection,”” said Paul Gattone, a Tucson lawyer. “”The police look upon us as a source of trouble and don’t create a bond with us but try to control us.””

    Dubois said the police department has become a tool of oppression governments use to control citizens.

    “”Brutality and oppression and criminalization are becoming more common,”” he said. “”We should have an alternative.””

    Sgt. Eugene Mejia, UAPD public information officer, said any group is allowed to gather on UAPD property “”as long as they abide by all laws.””

    “”They have a right to do whatever they want to bring focus to their group,”” he said.

    Mejia said no one from the groups have ever attempted to contact the UAPD regarding police brutality, so he does not “”know what they are protesting exactly against.””

    The Tucson Police Department said it was not aware of any demonstrations planned for the evening.

    Oct. 22 marks the 12th annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. Demonstrators will gather all around the country to protest police violence, Gattone said.

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