BUS discusses recent encounter with Kent Police

Tim Magaw

Police brutality was the subject of last night’s Black United Students meeting — and one member had some recent personal experience to offer on the subject.

Preston Mitchum, senator for academic affairs, said he and his friends were outside BarCode in downtown Kent on Friday night when he had a run-in with a Kent City police officer.

Mitchum said bouncers refused to let more people enter the nightclub while police officers stood outside. He said he saw one girl being harassed by one of the officers.

“I didn’t get upset until he acted like pushing her was nothing at all,” Mitchum said.

Mitchum said he was frustrated with the officer’s lack of compliance when he asked him for his badge number and information.

“They must think I’m another stupid black man going to school for no reason,” he said, indicating the officer, armed with a baton, told him to leave and that he would be arrested if he came back.

BUS President Sasha Parker said there was another encounter with Kent Police following Kent State’s football game Saturday.

“We had an incident this weekend with some students after the football party where seven freshmen were pulled out of their cars and thrown on the ground,” she said, adding that the officers had assault rifles.

Parker said because the incidents were with the Kent City Police Department there was little the organization could do except educate its members about what to do in a similar situation.

“If we arm everybody with the necessary things to do, we should be all right,” Parker said.

Parker said BUS has a political affairs and grievances chair to listen to any issues its members may be having.

Mitchum said he has already spoken with Carol Crimi, senior staff attorney for Student Legal Services, his family attorney and Dean of Students Greg Jarvie. Mitchum said he hopes to talk with Kent Police Chief Jim Peach later this week and file a formal complaint.

Also in the meeting, Parker and Fran Dorsey, acting chair of Pan-African studies, discussed the upcoming renovation of Oscar Ritchie Hall, which is planned to be completed by Fall 2008.

“They’re going to gut the building and make it one of the most technologically advanced buildings on campus,” Parker said.

Dorsey said the building has needed renovation for years.

“Even though they waited so long, we will be benefited by all the technology available to us,” he said, adding that most of the building will be outfitted with wireless technology.

Parker said BUS is planning a gala at the end of the year to raise money for the Oscar Ritchie project.

Contact ethnic affairs reporter Tim Magaw at [email protected].