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

Students protesting Petraeus on his way to class just over a week ago

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.

Note: Check back here later in the day for a report back on the charges doled out upon completion of the arraignment hearing.

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."