SF Commune activists protest dorm arrests at SF State

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SF Commune activists and SF State students gathered at Malcolm X Plaza today in protest of “police brutality” during the removal and arrest of six non-residents from Mary Ward Hall last night.

The group of approximately 50 protesters held signs that read “End Police Brutality” and “SFPD Used Excessive Force on Mary Ward Hall Guests” while chanting, “Shame on them.”

“Everything that happened yesterday was wrong and these people shouldn’t be punished for doing nothing wrong,” Tiffany, who invited the non-residents to her dorm room, said. “They are activists, but they’re just people.”

Mary Ward Hall was evacuated last night after a homeless man, who was with a group of non-residents, pulled a fire alarm second floor residents Miranda Gonzales and Kenneth Anyanwu said.

There was a total of eight to ten “welcomed guests” according to psychology major Luis Garcia, who had spent time with them before arrests.

The group of non-residents were a part of a squatters collective called SF Commune that was evicted from an abandoned church by SFPD on May 15 according to CBS Local.

Police had followed the group and dorm resident Tiffany from a commune at Capitol Avenue and Broad Street back to SF State according to Tiffany, who refused to give her last name.

After the evacuation, a small group of people gathered outside the University Housing Business Office to protest against “police brutality,” chanting, “What law was broken today?”

During today’s protest, students passed out leaflets telling their side of the story, explaining that the non-residents who were arrested were invited guests. They further claimed the arrestees are currently not receiving medical attention while in jail.

Of the six arrested non-residents, Andre Estrada was arrested for drinking in public. Kevin Dougherty, Carlos Cruz, Tanya Kostenko, Jonathan Urrutia and Melissa Nahlen were arrested for resisting a peace officer, trespassing, conspiracy, battery of a police officer and “lynching,” which are attempts to remove a person from custody of a peace officer according to University spokesperson Ellen Griffin.

Beyond the arrest charges, the non-residents’ stay at Mary Ward Hall violated several University housing agreements Griffin said.

One overnight guest is allowed per host resident. The maximum room occupancy is five people. SFPD told Griffin two dogs were with non-residents, and only service animals are allowed in University housing.

School policy states that dorm residents must sign their guests in, however protester Nick Camacho said the rule is rarely enforced.

“They’re acting as if they always followed it,” Camacho said. “Every single guest you have over during the day isn’t signed in.”

Speaking through a megaphone, protest leaders spoke to the gathered crowd and asked for anyone who took video of last night’s event to come forward. Students like Diego Sanchez gathered to watch the protest and try to discover the truth about what happened.

“I heard a bunch of rumors on the internet and didn’t know what to believe,” Sanchez said.

Not every student watching the demonstration sympathized with the protesters, however. Several students said they thought the protest was misguided, including 18-year-old freshmen Arlen Cuevas.

“It’s unfortunate that this happened, but there are bigger issues to worry about,” Cuevas said. “Saying all cops are pigs is just like saying all Muslims are terrorists.”

The demonstration then marched to the Administration Building to confront campus leaders.

Protesters dispersed around 4 p.m. from the Administration Building. Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell issued a statement for protesters at 5:30 p.m. in Malcolm X Plaza. A dialogue between protesters, students and Greenwell ensued.

Cesar Chavez Student Center cancelled its extended hours and closed at 10 p.m. tonight because of a “building emergency.” A CCSC information desk representative later elaborated early closing was due to arrests at Mary Ward Hall on May 16.

This week and next week CCSC has extended 24 hour weekdays for finals studying, but extended hours are as of now indefinite the CCSC information desk representative said.

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The arrest of six non-resident guests at Mary Ward Hall sparked a response from SF Commune activists at SF State’s Malcolm X Plaza.


Update: 3:15 p.m.

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SF Commune activists have moved protests to the Administration Building.


Update: 3:33 p.m.

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SF Commune activists are locked from the fifth floor (President’s offices) of the Administration Building.


Update: 3:43 p.m.

Here are the live tweets from the Administration Building.


Update: 3:48 p.m.

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Update: 5:44 p.m.

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University officials issue a statement to protesters of the dorm arrests in Malcolm X Plaza.

Latest comments
  • Clearly from the videos, these “welcomed guests” couldn’t be civil and had one of those protests wailing like a banshee in the background, interfering w a police officer doing their job (she’s lucky she didn’t get arrested or hurt… How many folks snatch a cop’s gun in a tussle, making it rightfully so a cop is fearful). Under no scrutiny, how can we assume these folks would have integrity? Much like picking up a hitchhiker and bitching about if your shit gets stolen.

  • This is literally the dumbest shit I have ever seen. I go to this school, live in the dorms that it happened in, and know the people involved. I saw the guests earlier the day that they were arrested, and they made me VERY uncomfortable. I pay my rent just like everyone else living here, but somehow I don’t have as much of a right to my privacy and safety as the people who brought these guests into the residence halls? I don’t care at all that they were homeless/right out of the commune/whatever, if you’re going to bring guests into the dorms, make sure they’re respectful. These people obviously were not.
    I am truly sorry that your friends got hurt, but if they had peacefully dealt with the cops this would never have happened. “Peacefully dealing with the cops” does not entail spitting in their faces, calling them pigs, screaming in the lobby, or protesting at the smoking section. Now kindly stop making such a big deal over this on school property. Take it up with the school/D.A’s office personally, instead of yelling about it outside Mary Ward and Cesar Chavez all day. The rest of us have finals to deal with.

  • Couldn’t have said it better. We all pay to attend this school, and I’ll be damned if some disrespectful visitors come and feel that there entitled to do whatever they want because their “friend” attends this school. The police actions were a direct result of their own actions, and now you want to “protest” about it. Please grow up…. I have real problems like finals, rent to pay, and my own cancer remission to fight. Here’s an idea maybe you shouldn’t spit on cops, call them pigs and maybe they wouldn’t throw you around like a rag doll if you would have left when they asked . I see tons of people asked to leave, and they do leave because they know their not suppose to be there, and know that when the police come it does mean its really time to go. That seems pretty logical right ? Like anonymous said you should have handled it the right way, and now you payed for it like the child you acted like.

  • Perhaps it’s because of fears of people such as yourselves who don’t have compassion for those who are seemingly “lesser” than you that these welcomed guests reacted in fear. When your boss is busy yelling at you or is micromanaging you, do you feel you’re friendly and at your best?

  • All of you are so daft. Of course you privileged college students don’t know what it’s like to be harassed by police. If a man in blue was beating your friends I’m sure you would scream too. Calling them pigs doesn’t warrant violence. If a 200 pound man was on top of you, try no to yell and resist. You all are pathetic.

  • Tommy that is a broad statement to make. There are 30,000 kids that go to this school, and I’m sure that only a few could be considered truly “privileged”. This is a state school, which is heavily subsidized, and even then most students can’t afford it without numerous loans, and grants. That being said, whether or not someone is privileged does not detract from the validity of their argument. i am sure most of college kids have dealt with the police, as i have personally seen. Most of them, if smart, calmly comply and are met with minimal hostility. This wasn’t the case. The actions made by the police also can hardly be considered police brutality. Watch the Rodney Kings videos, and you might learn the difference, or more recently the U.C. Davis pepper spraying.

    • …Said the man who’s the PR officer for a local PD.

  • Matt it doesn’t matter why they felt uncomfortable, it matter that they did feel uncomfortable. It was private property, and if they did not want a stranger who they did not know, and did not live there in there building they have every right to have them removed. These fears turned out were valid after the math when an unregistered gun, and drugs were found within the possession of the squatters.

    • Wow. Well said! How much time have you done saluting officers of America?

      • Is that really all you have to say in rebuttal? I was really hoping that you might have something valuable to contribute rather than snide and petty remarks.

        • You’re right, I do usually have more to contribute. Unfortunately, given the narrowness of your cop loving mind, I don’t see this as fertile ground for a discussion.

          When you’re off your knees and your mouth isn’t wrapped around a pig, let’s have a discussion indeed. Btw, how does pork juice taste?

    • Don’t feed the trolls, Josh. They probably don’t even go to this university, let alone care about the students’ safety and desire to not be distracted by such drivel during the last weeks of the semester.

      • People have a right to visitors. As for the drugs and guns, don’t police have both? They’re likely just not a fan of competition. I’ve known plenty of people who said cops regulated drug trade through their own “taxes”. I’ve also known people who have said off duty cops have done drugs with them.

        • 1.No, they were in clear violation of the guest policy.2. 2.The key word is unregistered. 3. There is a reason why hearsay is inadmissable in the court of law( granted a few exceptions that don’t apply here) its incosinstient, and largely unfounded.

          • I’ve known the drugs and taxes from credible sources. Plus, there’s been many documented prosecutions of cops who lead drug rings, like the contra costa drug task force commander who got busted for all the confiscated drugs he sold.

          • It’s clear Matt doesn’t give a damn about campus rules and regs; he’s just blaming SFSU police for doing things what other cops have done. Hopefully he and the other non-students don’t try to occupy SFSU classes during finals.

      • Seth, time to go fuck yourself and get back to studying for the useless degree which’ll keep you working in fast food and retail all your life.

        Loser

  • Isolated instances in extraordinary circumstances. One does not define all.

  • Even if that did apply to this situation it is irrelevant in regards to the question presented. Hypocrisy does not prove false logic it only distracts from the main goal. People are accusing these cops of police brutality, however, legally, everything they did was in the parameters of the law because the suspect was resisting. If the video proves anything it is that.

  • Some of these comments are disgusting. Pigs beat up human beings and all you have to say is “my mommy and daddy pay my privileged ass so I can attend this school oh nooo people who don’t look like me are on my campus get them awayyy”. Ignorant, apathetic college students. Free the SFC 5!

  • Stupid protestors! Obviously if you resist arrest, the level of force necessary to make the arrest IS going to be used.

    The housing area at our CSU campus is well posted with “no trespassing” signs. Visitors are required to check in with the front desk. And while guests are allowed, large numbers are not. The news media is not allowed in the residence halls without an escort from Housing or university public affairs.

    If the campus police were asked to evict these “guests” from the residence hall by students living there, the cops were simply doing their job. The moment these unruly “guests” refused to follow lawful orders and became disruptive, all bets were off. I don’t feel sorry for them. They created the situation that landed them with bumps and bruises, and in jail facing felony charges. In my book, they and the people supporting them are douchebags.

  • It’s obvious that the renter of the room did not or could not read her rental contract and to top it off she was being an idiot along with her trespassers. The more you resist, the escalation of force goes up to where the arrest can be made. Instead of shooting off their mouths in this forum, maybe they’ll get their chance to do so in a court of law. Current score, Cops: 5 Occupiers: 0

    • Instead of shooting off my mouth in forum, I’d like to shoot my j*zz down your throat to show you my appreciation for your cop loving sentiment.