BUS: Police brutality affects all, must stop

Steve Bushong

BUS president Sasha Parker introduces Rick Rucker, 26, at last night’s BUS meeting in Oscar Ritchie Hall. Rucker discussed the Jan. 7 encounter with Kent police in which he and four others were arrested after a party in College Towers. LESLIE CUSANO | DAI

Credit: John Proppe

A crowd of more than 50 people sat silent inside Oscar Ritchie Hall last night as Rick Rucker, 26, recounted the morning of Jan. 7, when he and four others were arrested by Kent police at his birthday party in College Towers.

Rucker said he and others at his party were victims of excessive police force. Formal civil complaints were filed against the Kent Police Department by 13 people who attended the party.

The emergency Black United Students meeting was held as a response to Rucker’s claim and as a starting point to foster action at the university or city level against unjust police force.

“This isn’t just me,” Rucker said. “It’s bigger than me. This is an ongoing problem.”

After Rucker spoke, those in attendance shared their own negative experiences with Kent police.

One woman, both a student and resident of Kent, was upset by the night’s discussion.

She said she doesn’t want people to think Kent is a terrible place, but at the same time she acknowledged and sympathized with the experiences of others in the lecture hall.

One common theme was the need for action.

Ideas ranged from organizing marches to starting a blog documenting unjust police activity.

BUS president Sasha Parker opened and closed the meeting by saying that the issue of excessive police force affects students and residents of the community across color lines.

Parker said she’ll bring the issue to President Lester Lefton’s attention at an upcoming meeting. She also plans to meet with the presidents of other student groups, including PRIDE!Kent and Undergraduate Student Senate, to discuss the issue.

Contact minority affairs reporter Steve Bushong at [email protected].