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Video Shows Public Safety Officers Dragging Protester by Legs

In a video circulating on Twitter, Columbia University Public Safety officers were seen dragging peaceful protesters by the legs in front of Low Library yesterday. The protesters were affiliated with Extinction Rebellion, an organization staging acts of nonviolent civil disobedience to advocate for environmental causes.

The video shows three Public Safety officers gathered around a protester laying down on the floor in front of the door to Low Library. One officer can be seen reaching for and holding the legs of the protester in an attempt to drag them out of the door. Another protester appears to be already present in the entryway as well.

Extinction Rebellion — an environmental pressure group aiming to use civil disobedience to compel government action on issues such as climate breakdown and biodiversity loss — had been advocating climate responsibility and yesterday took part in a campus-wide demonstration to declare a set of demands for the Columbia administration in response to the climate crisis. The actions the protesters took were non-violent in nature, including demonstrations on Low Plaza and attempting to sleep within Low Library.

According to a statement from Joshua Scott, a member of Extinction Rebellion who filmed the video, Public Safety officers were “grabbing [the protestors] by their ankles and clothing, pulling on their bodies in dangerous ways, and grabbing handfuls of their clothing, with no attempt to talk to our deescalator.” He mentioned that shortly after a group of protestors were able to enter Low, but the group’s original mission of being “a non-disruptive presence in the building in cooperation with the school’s need for the building as office space” was made impossible.

In response to the video, Columbia has stated that Public Safety officers aim to “avoid physical contact with protesters.” As officers were attempting to close the doors to Low Library, protesters laid their bodies in the threshold of the doors and in response, officers “momentarily tried to move them aside.”

You can read Scott’s and Columbia’s full statements below.

Update October 10th, 2019, 2:57 PM: The post has been updated with comments from Columbia University, as well as its full response to the video.


Statement from Joshua Scott:

Hey, this is Joshua Scott.

I filmed the short video from inside the building. I feel comfortable commenting on it, especially because, after talking to others at the event yesterday, I’ve realized I was one of the few who actually saw it happen besides the protesters who were assaulted.

I had just entered Low after speaking in front of Alma Mater and had walked into the building without Public Safety interacting with me, although they had a few members posted at the front door.

I turned around and stood by the entrance to the rotunda, then saw three or four of our members had laid down limp in the doorway to keep the doors open.

I saw uniformed members of campus public safety grabbing them by their ankles and clothing, pulling on their bodies in dangerous ways, and grabbing handfuls of their clothing, with no attempt to talk to our deescalator. I heard our members saying “don’t touch me” and heard public safety shouting as they tried to decide what to do. I filmed briefly, then left to scout the rest of the building, but also because I feared for my physical safety.

Shortly after, a crowd of protestors entered the building without incident, though public safety’s response had already made it impossible to do our original plan, which was to be a non-disruptive presence in the building in cooperation with the school’s need for the building as office space.

We are still figuring out a full account of the day, but as I witnessed these events, I’m confident in what I saw, and it was a horrific, disproportionate abuse of power on the part of the school.

Best,

Joshua Scott

Statement from Columbia University:

Columbia’s Public Safety officers are trained and directed to try to avoid physical contact with protesters. Yesterday, as our officers attempted to close the main entrance to Low Library, protesters inside the building abruptly laid their bodies across the threshold of the door as it was being closed. Our officers momentarily tried to move them aside and then stepped back. The individuals who had been laying down then entered the building with other protesters.

Low Library via Bwog Archives

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23 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous do they even go here

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    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous yes it’s an organization on campus. BWOG should update that because everyone is shitting on the group when they are students on campus.

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous God Bless the men and women of Public Safety.

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous >The protesters were affiliated with Extinction Rebellion, an organization staging acts of nonviolent civil disobedience

    aka criminal trespass. Well done Public Safety!

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous The entitlement is ridiculous. If you’re going to protest in an obnoxious way intended to cause inconvenience don’t cry out in shock when people try to remove you. Public safety were totally in the right here. Good work

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Ever notice how none of these climate change groups ever protest in China? Why is that?

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    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous because the chinese police will fuck them up lmao

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Public Safety did nothing inappropriate! I saw the whole thing. How DARE YOU Extinction Rebellion! How DARE YOU…

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    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous why are u sucking public safety’s dick lmao

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      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous why do you suck so many dicks?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I think people are missing that Public Safety responded in a physically coercive manner to actions that posed zero harm to anyone. They were an inconvenience, not a threat. The officers have supposedly been trained to avoid physical contact, but the video shows officers *dragging someone across the floor*. Take a closer look at how the protestor’s legs are positioned. How is that not assault? Moreover, Public Safety officers are not police officers – they act for the interests of the school, not of the state or even necessarily of the students. This physically coercive action shows how Columbia intends to respond to peaceful protest, even if the school appears to discourage it. No matter the intentions, this is a message to anyone intending to protest on campus that Public Safety will manhandle and assault you. It’s a power play, pure and simple. It is well worth it for Columbia denizens to think about if this is how they want Public Safety to act. Public Safety is supposedly here to protect us from threats to our safety. But when they respond to non-threatening scenarios in violent and physically coercive ways, they are the true threat to campus safety.

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    1. anon says:

      @anon Wrong. They are in the wrong and committed a crime. Can someone just walk into your dorm room and block your doors and you would just stand there and do nothing?

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous These people were unaffiliated criminals trespassing on our campus and trespassing on private property. They should have been arrested. Thank you public safety for doing your job.

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    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous really? maybe you don’t believe in climate change LOL

  • anon says:

    @anon The true scandal is the fact that no one connected with this piece–neither the author, nor Joshua Scott, nor even the official spokesman of the University–understands the difference between “lie” and “lay.”

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  • AK says:

    @AK I was the first protester into the doorway. We didn’t “abruptly [lay] our bodies across the threshold of the door as it was being closed”. I got into the doorway with the intention of holding the middle door open for the protesters who were coming *before* public safety tried closing the doors. Public safety immediately assaulted me, and that’s when I sank to the ground and went limp. My friend who they dragged on film jumped into the doorway after me, and it was only after that that Joshua turned around and saw/filmed the incident. They attacked *me* first.

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    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Must be nice to get 500 dollars a week to protest. Care to comment? And by the way, there’s no use in denying it. Dailybeast outed you all in a rare act of journalism by them.

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    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous These people are paid to sow discord in between shifts at starbucks. What a bunch of losers. Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7566515/Extinction-Rebellion-files-reveal-climate-zealots-paid-400-week.html

    3. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous hey princess, see all the downvotes? That means no one likes you. Go back to your mom’s basement. She told me to tell you your chicken tendies are ready

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous GREAT JOB BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY!

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Great Job!!

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  • Seas Student says:

    @Seas Student Great Job Public Safety.. Thank You for keep us safe.

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous The sad part is that these protestors are paid 500 a week to show discord and create chaos. Look it up. Daily beast outed them.

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