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LOCAL News :: Civil & Human Rights : Crime & Police : Education : Peace & War : Protest Activity

GMU Student Assaulted and Arrested for Protesting Military Recruiters

This past Friday, GMU student Tariq Khan, also a Pakistani-American Student and former Air Force Service, was brutalized, arrested, and taken to the Fairfax County jail for passing out anti-military-recruitment flyers on George Mason University campus.
A marine recruiter set up a table in the Johnson Center at GMU, so Tariq stood next to the table wearing a small sign taped to his chest which read, "Recruiters Lie. Don't be decieved." He also had another sign which read, "U.S. out of Iraq. Israel out of Palestine. U.S. out of North America." And of course it was finished off with the anarchist circle-A and the words, "Resist Tyranny". He also had anti-military-recruitment flyers to give to those who were interested.

T.L. Reynolds #38, a GMU police officer told him he had to leave. Tariq responded that he is allowed to be there and that he isn't doing anything wrong, "I'm just standing here", he said. Officer Reynolds told Tariq that he must have university permission to table, but Tariq was not tabling, he was just standing there with a sign.

When it became clear that Tariq refused to acquiesce to the officer's arbitrary order, officer Reynolds ordered Tariq to turn around (for handcuffing). Tariq again refused to turn around and started to walk away when officer Reynolds got angry and started using physical force to take Tariq down and handcuff him. Tariq continually squirmed away stating in a loud voice, "I am not using violence, He is using physical force against me, yet I committed no crime", and other similar words.

Many students started crowding around to see what the commotion was about. Officer Reynolds violently took Tariq down as other cops showed up on the scene. One man, who wasn't even a cop, but was an ultra-right wing student who had been harrassing Tariq prior to officer Reynolds showing up, suddenly joined in with the cops in keeping Tariq, still non-violent but not passive, down on the ground. Eventually the cops handcuffed Tariq and dragged him by his handcuffs out to the car.

When Tariq refused to get into the police car, and demanded that the police unhandcuff him and let him free, a fat white cop threatened to pepper spray Tariq. Tariq then announced loudly for the surrounding students to hear, "he's going to pepper spray me while I'm non-violent. If you have a camera, get pictures of it."

Immediately a student took out her camera and pointed it at the officers. Just as immediately as the camera came out, the fat white cop put the pepper spray away and said in an ashamed tone, I'm not pepper spraying anyone. Then the cops blocked off the way so that no one with a camera could get a good shot in.

One cop said to Tariq, "hey, I'm just trying to help you out." To which Tariq replied, "Hey everyone, this cop just wants to help me out! Hey officer, if you want to help me out, then get these handcuffs off of me and let me go." Then the cops picked Tariq up and forced him into the back of the police car.

He was taken to the police station on campus where the police asked him if he needed any medical treatment (as a result of their brutal handling of Tariq). He replied that yes he did, and officer Reynolds said he'd get him some, but never did.

Officer Reynolds also asked Tariq if he wanted a lawyer present, to which Tariq replied that yes, he did want a lawyer present. Reynolds said he'd get one, but never did.

After enduring much insults from two police at the police station, Tariq was then taken to the Fairfax county jail, and officer Reynolds instructed Tariq to keep his mouth shut and not even look at anyone at the jail, because if he even so much as looks at an officer wrong, they will "hang you from the cieling by your feet".

Tariq thought to himself, "where are they taking me, Abu Ghraib? Guantanamo? What kind of people hang a person from the ceiling upside down simply for looking at them?"

Eventually they let Tariq go, but charged him with trespassing (on his own campus), resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. GMU students are now organizing to fight against this injustice and to assert their right to protest recruiters on their campus.
 
 


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