Have you received an e-mail from a fellow democrat about the Obama celebration (aka "riot) at Arkansas State University?
I just did today, and it broke my heart.
The Arkansas Times blog has now posted the e-mail that I received. The blog is a follow up to an earlier story about how Arkansas police were hurt trying to break up the Obama celebration (see
MSNBC story here).
Here's the e-mail:
I am a student at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Following Obama's victory of the 2008 Presidential election we (ASU students) witnessed extreme police brutality and racially charged chaos in our area. Below is a statement of what went on. The media is only portraying one side of the story and have not yet given us the opportunity to tell our side to let it be known what really happened.
Following the results of the 2008 Presidential election, we all began to celebrate by means of meeting in the parking lot of the campus apartment complex. There were people, cheering, driving and blowing horns, and hanging out of their cars.
When we arrived in the Grove Apartments, in front of building five (5), a crowd began to accumulate, at this point, a police officer drove up. Jeffrey Boyd, one of those arrested, went to the officer to ask if we needed to leave. He said no and congratulated us on Obama's victory. He also advised us that we could celebrate until 12:30 due to it being a school night. We then, continued to play music, cheer, and dance and take pictures. 10-15 minutes later, the same officer showed up again. He proceeded to tell us that he has been getting complaints from the nearby building and that we would have to turn off the music.
The driver of the car immediately went to his car and turned off the music. At this point, we obeyed the officer's command and continued talking amongst ourselves and taking pictures, including one with the officer on patrol. Around 11:00 pm, the officer pulled up again this time he just sat in his car with the lights directly on the crowd. He sat in his car for about five minutes before three more cop cars pulled up. By now, the first officer was out his car telling us that we needed to leave.
Due to it not being 12:30, people began to ask if there was a problem. The other officers had, by then, made their way to the crowd. While a few people talked to the officers, the crowd began to chant "OBAMA" again. The officers finally got the pathway cleared when an officer grabbed a bystander (Clifford Crisswell) and handcuffed him.
Everyone automatically, came to his defense asking the officers what had he done wrong. Approximately 30 additional officers were now present as they began to handcuff three other guys (Seneca Hart, Kevin Jones, and Donte Jones), one of which whose chest had been pushed and covered with 6 or more infrared lights. The 30 officers continued on with their rant threatening us to either leave or be taken to jail.
At this time, two guys were thrown to the ground (Kiano Prater and Leroy Trahan) with police lying on top of them. Jeffery Boyd, was later also thrown to the ground where he was continuously kicked in the stomach and head by a female officer before and after being cuffed and put in the car.
The crowd began to leave due to the police repeatedly stating that they would release everyone if the crowd dispersed. At this point, everyone had made it their respective destinations. We looked out the apartment window to see police with dogs and rifles. We let no one in and no one was allowed to go out. The officers continued to search outside for about 30 minutes as if they were looking for something. After we were allowed to leave, we decided to go find out where the guys had been taken.
When we arrived at the detention center at 12:00 am.(midnight), they told us that everyone was booked there except the guy (Jeffrey Boyd) who had been hospitalized due to injuries suffered. He and the female officer were at the hospital being treated. The officer on duty told us that some were going to be facing "failure to disperse" and "inciting a riot" charges. He then, gave us a number to call 2 hours later to get the outcome. When we called at 2:30, they told us that the guys had to stay throughout the night and would have been reporting to court at 1 pm the following day (November 5, 2008).
As previously stated, the media is only telling one side of the story, that being the story that the Jonesboro Police Department is giving out. Their reporting that there were 200-250 of students acting in a disorderly manner, when there were only 60-70 of us at the most CELEBRATING, with permission, a very momentous night. A few were interviewed on the scene, but none of their stories have been either published or aired.
Six of those arrested are currently facing a Class D Felony for Inciting a Riot and one, Jeffery Boyd who was injured is facing two charges: inciting a riot and 2nd degree battery to a police officer. The guys are all upstanding young men. Some are seniors, fraternity members, well-known football players, and have no criminal background. We have video documentation of the incident and would like to get our side of the story heard, by all means.
This has been a nightmare to us all and if you can help in any way it would be greatly appreciated.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND CONSTITUENTS. TO HELP GET THE WORD OUT OF THIS GREAT INJUSTICE!!! WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Feel free to contact:
BTW, I figured I had a bigger audience at Daily Kos than forwarding the e-mail to my friends (since they are here, anyway!).
A comment left by Naranjadia below provides a link to the original arrest information from the Jonesboro Sun:
Jonesboro Police Chief Mike Yates said Patrolwoman Jo Carol Carter was struck in the face numerous times by Boyd and suffered a broken nose and other injuries. Officer Duane Busby suffered a cut to the top of his head when he was struck by an unknown person with an unknown object, Yates said. Officer Gary Jackson suffered abrasions to his arms and legs when he was knocked to the ground, Yates added.
The suspects were part of a large group of people celebrating Barack Obama’s election as U.S. president.
Yates said the celebration became a riot after participants set fire to a fence, fired weapons and assaulted police.
Naranjadia has left another comment with a link to a follow up Jonesboro Sun story entitled, "Accused student discusses melee".
Several people have left comments that the diary's title should be changed to something less inflammatory. Here's the rub: I got the diary title from the newspaper's website. Think about it. At least, I put the word, riot, in quotes. The Arkansas Times blog didn't. What does that say about the newspaper's agenda?
Besides, would many folks have even read this diary if the title was:
"Obama celebration at Arkansas State University"
The reason the story is compelling is because a celebration ended with violence, injuries, and arrests.
Was it really a riot? Was it a misunderstanding? Who knows? That's what the trial will reveal. However, there is now a much bigger audience interested in the outcome.
For what it's worth, the subject line of the e-mail that generated this diary was much less startling:
"Election Night wasn't good for all Obama supporters..."
I was going to go with that as my diary title until I started reading the various headlines created by the news organizations about the event. It's interesting to see who was using restraint in wording.
BTW, here are the headlines from other sources on the Internet from Google News:
Ark. police hurt trying to break up Obama party
The Associated Press - Nov 5, 2008
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Police arrested eight Arkansas State University students after a melee at an impromptu Barack Obama victory celebration near the ...
Police Arrest 7 in Post-Obama Victory Disturbance
KAIT, AR - Nov 5, 2008
JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - At least seven people were arrested Tuesday night after police were summoned to a disturbance at an apartment complex near Arkansas ...
Obama Celebration Melee In Jonesboro
Today's THV, AR - Nov 5, 2008
Authorities in Jonesboro say a celebration of Barack Obama's victory in the presidential election prompted a disturbance that ended with at least seven ...
Riots Reported in Parts of Jonesboro
KAIT, AR - Nov 4, 2008
JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Region 8 News has received reports of some riot-like activity in Jonesboro. It happened at The Grove apartment complex just off the ...
(The last two links aren't working anymore but Google News still shows them.)
*Thanks for all the recommendations. I didn't expect this diary to end up on the recommended list, but I am honored. I just wanted the e-mail to be documented here. When I got the e-mail from my friend, Jay, I searched Daily Kos and realized the information hadn't been reported yet so I created a diary to do so. I thought the ASU students needed a forum for their side of the events that took place the night of Barack Obama's historic election, and what better place than Daily Kos.
Update [2008-11-14 17:2:41 by WayBeyondSoccerMom]: I have sent e-mails to both:
but have not heard back from either of them. Of course, having your names and e-mail addresses on a e-mail that has been sent to hundreds, as well as being posted on Daily Kos, may have filled up their inboxes. I will let you know by a new diary if I hear from either of them. I asked them to provide links to any photos or videos, as well as encouraged them to read the comments at Daily Kos. The good news: the e-mail I sent to them has not bounced back to me. That's a good sign.