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November 24, 1982 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-11-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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OPINION

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Pae 4 Wednesday, November 24, 1982 The Michigan Daily

Learning firsthand about 'criminal

justice'

By Bob Wojnowski
Fifteen years of schooling could not have
taught me more about the criminal justice
system in this country than what I learned in
four hours last Saturday morning.
I learned that the term "criminal justice" is
a lie. At least in Columbus, Ohio. At least on
that particular morning.
I learned about First Amendment rights, due
process, and unlawful arrest. And what I lear-
ned left me frightened, humiliated, and angry,
but at least I am no longer naive.
For that, I thank the Columbus police.
ON SATURDAY morning at about 2:15 a.m.,
the Daily's chief photographer, Brian Masck,
arid I were arrested for what police now call
"resisting arrest." We were not resisting our
own arrests, the police say, but the arrests of
other people.
However, the only tool the Columbus police
can use to support such ludicrous charges is
figtion. Police reports of the incident which led
to- our arrest are filled with inaccuracies and
falsehoods. Whether they are the product of the
confusion at the scene or simply a vivid
imagination, I can only speculate.
AND IT is these fabrications that most appall

and frighten me. Consider what actually did
happen and then consider what it is the police
are trying to do and then consider that this
could have happened to you.
Brian and I were on High Street working on a
"color piece" for the Daily on the atmosphere
in Columbus before the Michigan-Ohio State
game. Two bouncers were tossing a man out
and a crowd quickly began to gather. The
police directed the man down the street but he
got verbally and physically abusive and three
or four officers grabbed him by the hair and
threw him against the wall.
Brian stood in the back of the crowd and
began taking pictures of the incident. One of
the officers yelled at him to .stop. Brian
hesitated and asked if it was against the law to
take pictures in public. The officer didn't
respond.
WHEN BRIAN moved closer and took
another picture, he was grabbed by the officers
and pushed against the wall. They seized his
camera and a roll of film from his pocket. I ran
forward and asked the officers why they were
arresting him. Their reply: "Get the hell out of
here."
Brian was taken around the corner, sear-
ched, and handcuffed. I again protested to the
officers and identified Brian and myself as
journalists. Again, I was told to leave.

I then realized that Brian had my car keys
and that I would need them if we were going to
get him out of jail. I asked an officer if I could
get my keys from Brian. Tactful as always, he
simply told me to "just get the hell out of here."
I turned to head back down the street and as I
walked past Brian, I reached into his pocket for
my keys. One officer saw me, knocked my arm
away with his nightstick and swore at me to
leave. However, the officer who had spoken to-
me previously, approached from behind and
snapped: "Forget it. I already warned him
twice, now we're gonna run him in." He then
proceeded to twist my arms behind my back,
shove me against a parked car, frisk me, and
handcuff me.
THROUGHOUT the entire event, Brian and I
made no attempt to resist the arrest other than
by verbal protest. The forms that we received
that night said that Brian, by taking pictures,
interfered with the arrest of a dangerous
criminal-the police showed us a gun that they
seized from the man-and that I was arrested
for interfering with Brian's arrest. The official
police report apparently was later amended to
say that Brian started a shoving match with the
officers and that I grabbed an officer from
behind in an attempt to free Brian. As a num-
ber of witnesses will testify, that account is
plainly ficticious.
Brian and I did nothing illegal that night, yet
we spent four hours in the Franklin County

Jail. And what we saw that night gave us an in-
sight into a police system I never thought
existed:
" One of the prisoners in our paddy wagon
began to get verbally unruly. One of the of-
ficers standing outside the truck yelled to two
other officers that someone needed an "at-
titude adjustment." All three officers then
dragged the unruly man from the van and shut
the back door so we couldn't watch. When he
was tossed back into the van several minutes
later, he seemed to have adopted a more com-
placent attitude.
" While we were being arrested on the street,
one of the female members of our group ap-
proached and questioned the officers about the
nature of our arrests. She was sprayed with
some type of chemical substance.
" When the prisoners were brought into jail,
they were asked if they had any injuries. One
said that he had bruised ribs. One officer tur-
ned to another and, smacking his nightstick
loudly against the palm of his hand, said: "I
have just the thing for bruised ribs."
The most enduring feeling that I experienced
last Saturday morning was one of utter
helplessness. They have you and, even though
you know you're innocent, there's nothing you
can do about it.

THERE IS also the feeling of complete and
paralyzing fear. It is the fear of injustice. We
were photographed with a police identification
number hung around our necks and we were
finger-printed. We were never read our rights
or informed of exactly what our charges were.
We originally were given only one phone call
and if we didn't know the number of the place
we needed to call, we couldn't call it.
We were treated gruffly, rudely, as any mur-
derer or rapist would be treated. We were
searched at least six times. We were treated
like common criminals when we had done
nothing wrong. And while that is the hurt, it is :
also the lesson.
I have learned to forever be suspicious of the
criminal justice system. There is something
about watching and listening to jailroom horror
stories that does that to a person. My image of
the police has been permanently altered and
amy hope is that I can alter your impression
also. For I too once felt that such things never.
happened, or if they did they were warranted.
1 had heard the stories of unjustifiedarrests,
but I too thought them to be exaggerated. I too
was once naive. But the lesson has been taught
and I paid attention and now I know.
And for that I thank the Columbus police.
s
Wojno wski is the Daily's sports editor. .

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Stewart

Vol. XCIII, No. 66

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M1 48109

Vditorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Walesa' s
T O THOSE WHO run Poland, he is
"the former leader of former
Solidarity." To millions of other
Poles-and millions across the
Western world-he embodies the hope
and spirit of freedom.
But with his latest pronouncements
on the future of Solidarity, Lech Walesa
may be ready for an unfamiliar, and
all-too-true, role-the latest sellout to
the Soviet bloc.
After spending nearly a year in det-
ention, Walesa now wants to do
something that both Poles and Wester-
ners have hoped for since his inter-
ninent began-revive the banned
Solidarity union.
But Walesa reportedly is willing to
make concessions to the Polish
military authorities in return for some
autonomy for Solidarity. His new
strategy is to get rid of the union's
dissident intellectual wing.
"Purging" intellectuals from
Solidarity wouild surely please the
Polish authorities. Communists have
blamed these intellectuals for
"hijacking" a movement based on
legitimate workers' grievances and
turning it against the party.

next role
But that's hardly an innovation. Sin-
ce the 1950s, the Polish Communist
party has successfully played worker
against scholar in its attempts to un-
dermine Polish dissent. With Solidarity,
however, the two groups finally were
united in a common revolt, a rare
alliance that gave Solidarity much of
its power and reputation. So'lidarity
became more than a group concerned
with "workers' grievances;" it
became a national organization that
spoke for the hopes and discontent of
the entire Polish people.
So Lech Walesa is left with a
tradeoff. He can force intellectuals out
of Solidarity to gain a small amount-of
breathing space for the beleaguered
union. But if he does, he will forfeit
both Solidarity's domestic legitimacy
and worldwide prestige.
The choice Walesa makes may well
determine how he goes down in
history. He has a good chance at being'
remembered as a defender of human
liberty and dignity. But if he com-
promises now, perhaps "the former
leader of former Solidarity" will be the
label that sticks.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Honigman s image of student

i-

SecUiMeWe EE
REAciW SL*IsrAJ4AL
AGREEMEAT 'WITH
OLVZ ALUES..

To the Daily:
It seems incredible to me that
the Daily has given Robert
Honigman an opportunity to ped-
dle his well-worn theories and
twisted logic ("Growing up at
today's University," Daily, Nov.
18).

For example, he compares the
University to a trust, states that
the beneficiaries of a trust are
given power over the estate when
they grow up, complains that
students have not been given
enough power over their trust,
and then says that students have

IEx

Daily confused on lecture

S~OVIET-

' ,

ITI

PIPELINE

To the Daily:
My immediate thoughts upon
reading your editorial on the UAC
cancellation of the Kahane lec-
ture were, "a well-written piece,
but one that utterly misses the
point" ("UAC stumbles on
Kahane," Daily, Nov. 21).
We (The Michigan Daily and
myself) are in full agreement
that the purpose of Viewpoint
Lectures is to give the students
an opportunity to hear diverse
points of view on any topic. As far
as you take the argument, you

executive board members who
voted to cancel the lecture, the
opportunity to provide this
apolitical forum was destroyed
by the appearance on campus of
an unauthorized poster cam-
paign promoting the Kahane lec-
ture. These posters featured a
clenched fist within a star and
were anything but apolitical. As
you correctly quoted me in your
headline article last week regar-
ding the illicit postering, "a clen-
ched fist I do not see as being
neutral".
While vnu nresent engent

not grown up.
He grumbles that kids are not
allowed enough freedom and then
contradicts himself by saying
that they have too much freedom
to indulge in sex, drugs, and
dreams.
It is not at all clear what Mr.
Honigman proposes-should the
University provide chastity belts
and a return to "Victorian boar-
ding schools" or should it totally
eliminate authority? Or should
there be some weird combination
of the two?
But my biggest gripe is with his
enunciation of the old conspiracy
theory without an iota of suppor-
ting evidence. The University is
supposed to have dissolved the
student community through lousy
housing, grade competition, and
lack of student voice in decision-
making.
Sure, I would love to live in a

e
distorted
house like the one President,
Shapiro lives in, but, being 4,
realist, I have chosen to live in a
reasonably comfortable dorm ink
stead. Of course, I would like tO
get all "A-pluses,", but I realize:
that competition (in all spheres of
activity) is what helps this
university achieve excellences
Maybe I don't vote for the
president of the University, but I
do work for various student-
groups where I feel that I am
being heard.
Mr. Honigman should realize
that there are mature, secure,
and happy students here who are
insulted by his insinuations that
we have been stunted by our
years in Ann Arbor. I certainly
consider myself mature enough
to see through his ridiculous
hyperbole.
-R.M. Advani
November 23

U II

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