4, May 2013
It is Friday night and my friends and I are at a party. 2 o’clock am rolls around and two cops come to the house party. They say that we need to keep it down, mind you there is another party directly across the street going on, consisting of mostly white people. The host of the party, Nate Howard, came to the mic and kindly asked everyone to move inside of the house. People began moving slowly, and the DJ turned the music back on. After the music played for about 4 minutes, the cops returned, quite agitated, and with much hostility called for the DJ to come to them. The DJ refused, to which the cops then left and came to the front of the house. My friends and I began filing out of the party and once we were outside we waited to get a headcount of our friends. As we waited, more cops began filing in, although people were leaving. Why are more cops coming? I said outloud. Before someone could answer I spotted Nate Howard across the street being man handled and arrested by three cops. Following them were a large group of Nate’s friends, enraged, emotional, and unhappy with his arrest(rightfully so). From there, more cops began filling in, blocking off the street and thats when my friends and I decided to leave. We walked across the street to the corner where Pizza Hut is located, and waited for our campus cruiser to arrive to return to campus. About eight minutes pass by and a load of ten more cop cars arrived, while a helicopter hovered over the scene flashing lights on the people. I saw the cops take out their batons as they ran toward the scene, and I saw black people trying to leave. Havoc was apparent, black people were scared and unhappy with Nate’s arrest. Two more minutes pass by and a dozen cops arrive with tear gas masses on. They file down the road on hoover, and begin making columns of police to barricade and block off anyone else from entering the area.
The entire time I am attempting to maintain an objective view, being that I don’t have all of the details as to why such unnecessary means were enforced. One could argue that the party was being too loud and needed to be shut down. This is understandable, and Nate along with the other party members began leaving. It was a registered party, with security provided which automatically should enforce some sort of diplomacy. Additionally, something I’m having difficulty understanding is the fact that there was a party directly across the street, hosted by majority white people, that was equally as loud (as I was able to hear it on the street) yet it was not being discontinued whatsoever.
As I waited on the outskirts of the event for campus cruiser to pick up my friends and I, files of policies began lining up with tear gas masks on, pushing people away toward Hoover. They were using abusive remarks. One police officer yelled at us to “Get the fuck out of the way!” as my friends and I frantically climbed inside of a campus cruiser van. He yelled at the driver to “Move the car or I’ll toe it!” —his exact words, as if that wasn’t exactly what we were already clearly trying to do.
Two of my friends came running away from the hub of the scene with tears in their eyes stating that they saw someone get tazed right in front of them for no reason. They also saw two people get slammed to the ground and arrested. Absolutely traumatizing, unnecessary, and uncalled for. I do not know what the media can do about this, but as black educated scholars we do not deserve this treatment. No one does. Something must change. I encourage everyone to share their story, share their voice and share what they witnessed! That’s the only way they’ll take us seriously. This will not get blown over.