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NYPD attacks CUNY students protesting General David Petraeus

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Six City University of New York students were arrested on Tuesday while peacefully protesting the school's hiring of disgraced US military General David Petraeus. The six were charged on Wednesday with disorderly conduct, inciting a riot, resisting arrest, and obstruction of government administration. Students say the arrests were needlessly violent, and there is video to back up those claims.

The following video captured a plainclothes NYPD officer delivering a series of punches to a man officers had surrounded, handcuffed on the ground. You can see the officer punching the handcuffed man at the thirty seconds mark in the clip below.

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The students, organizing through what they are calling the Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY, released a statement about their protests:

A broad range of CUNY students, faculty and staff members have been carrying out a campaign of 'protest and exposure' against the Board of Trustees' appointment of Petraeus, whose documented actions as Iraq/Afghanistan war commander and CIA chief include drone attacks upon civilians, and the creation of torture centers and death squads.

The Guardian newspaper quotes CUNY faculty who were at the protest and witnessed the assault depicted in the above video:

Sandor John, an adjunct professor of Latin American history at CUNY's Hunter College, was among the crowd in Manhattan's Upper West Side and witnessed some of the arrests.
"I saw one of the students who was arrested, a young man, being held face down on the ground by police; he was completely immobilized, and then a plainclothes officer knelt down and repeatedly punched him hard in the lower back, in the kidney area," he told the Guardian.
The NYPD did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The arrests seem to have garnered more support for the students' cause, however, with the petition signed by academics stating that they "emphatically support the efforts of these CUNY students to resist the attempts by the US government and the CUNY administration to turn the university into an infamous 'war college' with the appointment of Petraeus".
The statement added: "We call on CUNY to terminate Petraeus' appointment and to ask for the charges against these students to be dropped immediately."
UPDATE: It appears as if Petraeus is getting special protection from the CUNY administration, as well as from the NYPD. An activist who went inside to listen to the talk Petraeus gave on Tuesday was told she couldn't tweet, even from inside the mostly empty overflow room. She said that an unidentified person she assumed was a security officer sat inside the overflow room and watched her for the duration of the event. h/t @mathandviolence

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.