AAPD actions during block parties unfair, inappropriate

To the Daily:

It is difficult to see exactly how the Ann Arbor Police Department’s actions (Police put end to weekend’s block parties, 09/15/03) taken against this weekend’s festivities were aimed to keep Ann Arbor citizens and students safe. In fact, it is difficult to see any purpose to their oppressive tactics other than pure harassment and power assertion. The lesson that we should all draw from Friday and Saturday night is that the police want us (the students) to know that they have the power in Ann Arbor.

My girlfriend and I were not drunk, but after being followed by a police car as we walked past a few parties an officer sprung out of the patrol car and screamed, “Stop right there little missy.” She proceeded to accuse my girlfriend of throwing a cup onto a lawn that we had just passed. After my girlfriend explained that she is an observant Jew who will not carry anything (including cups, identification, keys, etc.) on Friday night, the start of the Sabbath, the officer rudely asked what religion was my girlfriend practicing. After an awkward pause when the officer realized her offensive comment, she asked my girlfriend if she had been drinking. She said yes after being badgered for a few minutes and then was breathalyzed. Of course it came up negative, just like mine did (I do not know why they tested me, I guess I was guilty of standing next to someone who did not throw a cup), but that did not stop the cops from taking my ID and keeping us there on the street as hoards of visibly drunk students strolled by.

So the AAPD stopped us for throwing a cup onto the lawn, which we did not do, and then threatened to write us up tickets even though our breathalyzer tests did not come up positive. All of this was going on while they could have been actually doing their jobs, keeping us all safe. There was no reason to stop us; we were not engaged in dangerous behavior. There needs to be some way for students to insure that they are not bullied by power hungry police officers. It’s hard to ask for an officer’s badge number while they are deciding whether to give you a ticket or not, but students need to take action. Noise violations, minor in possession citations and other forms of petty harassment must be stopped.

Jesse Spevack

LSA Junior

Daily’s depiction of student activist displays lack of journalistic integrity

To the Daily:

In the interest of fairness and journalistic integrity, the Daily must provide photo-editing guidelines to graphic artists, as well as an apology to the student activist on the left side of the photo illustration accompanying ‘U’ activists – both conservatives, liberals – stay in the national spotlight, (9/16/03). The student in question is an articulate leader of the anti-Iraq war movement. The bottom portion of her “Support our Troops” sign says “Bring them Home!” (or words to that effect). The digital image portrays her as a “conservative” pro-war activist.

The earlier Daily story about this student activist also described how her patriotism had been questioned by a local Vietnam veteran. At that time, I had written her a note as a Vietnam veteran who applauded both her patriotism and her viewpoint. Public, civil expression of a political or social viewpoint is an act of patriotism. To publicly misrepresent a person’s viewpoint for journalistic expediency is shameful.

David Law

Research investigator,

Department of Internal Medicine













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