6 CUNY Students Violently Arrested Protesting Ex-General David Petraeus, Group Releases Statement

6 CUNY Students Violently Arrested Protesting Ex-General David Petraeus, Group Releases Statement

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[NEW YORK, NY]  Six students were arrested Tuesday evening in an unprovoked police attack against a peaceful protest lead by City University of New York (CUNY) students and faculty decrying the University’s appointment of former CIA chief and ex-General, David Petraeus as an adjunct professor to the Honors College. Students were punched, pushed against parked vehicles and thrown to the pavement by police captains and officers after the NYPD forced them off the sidewalk and into the street. Tuesday’s demonstration was called for by the Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY.

The arrested students were arraigned Wednesday evening, September 18, at the Manhattan Criminal Court located at 100 Centre Street. The courtroom was flooded with supporters ranging from activists, to fellow students, to CUNY faculty outraged at the NYPD’s response to their student’s attempts to peaceably assemble.

“As students were chanting ‘War Criminal Petraeus Out of CUNY Now,’ I was shocked to see several police officers grab and brutalize one of the demonstrators,” said City College student Yexenia Vanegas. “This was completely unprovoked, as demonstrators made [it] clear that they were there to defend our university in a peaceful protest.”

The attack occurred in front of CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, where Petraeus has been appointed to teach a class on public policy. “Protestors were marching in a circle on the sidewalk and chanting, but the police forced them into the street and then charged. One of the most brutal things I saw was that five police officers slammed a Queens College student face down to the pavement across the street from Macaulay, put their knees on his back and he was then repeatedly kneed in the back,” said Hunter student Michael Brian. “The student was one of those pointed out by ‘white shirt’ officers, then seized and brutalized. A Latina student was heaved through the air and slammed to the ground.”

(the following video depicts the NYPD confrontation beginning at 1:56)

A broad range of CUNY students, faculty and staff members, have been carrying out a campaign of “protest and exposure” against the Board of Trustees’ appointment of Petraeus, whose documented actions as Iraq/Afghanistan war commander and CIA chief include drone strikes on civilians, the use of “enhanced interrogation” centers and the use of white phosphorus weapons in Fallujah, despite international restrictions on their use.

CUNY organizers state that this “blatant use of police brutality against peaceful protestors will not intimidate or deter those who expose the truth about the actions of David ‘Death Squad’ Petraeus and oppose attempts to turn the City University into ‘a war college.'”




  1. Just what shocks professionals; from what I saw in this video, it was a “whiteshirt”–an officer, who are supposed to be on site to supervise the “blue shirts” engaging with the public–who threw the first punch. Based on that, I think they arrested the wrong people and all charges should be dismissed.

    • It’s always the whiteshirts. In my experience, the blueshirts tend to be way more chill, the whiteshirts are out for blood. They also make more money. Go figure.

      • They have the most to lose, they are the serious sell- outs; the blue shirts are closer to the “regular folks”? Only guessing.

    • Nowhere in this article does it say the white-shirt threw the first punch. S/he pointed out the guy the blue-shirts then attacked him. Please re-read (or show me where it says that, maybe I missed it)

      • I thought that was what I saw on the video, not read in the article. If I was wrong, then I sit corrected, but that was my impression, and consistent with other situations.

  2. these Students, the University should sue the city and the police department and the individual police that struck and commanded it. this is disgusting and will not be tolerated. these students standing in front of a court as defendants is laughable. the only ones that should be on trial are City officials and the police dept and those that did this. absolute insanity and shameful beyond words.

  3. Fuck War Criminals

  4. Actually they acted like brownshirts and they can fuck off to Russia if they want to be totalitarian enforcers, we don’t DO that here. Beating down kids. What cowards. I hope the courts rip those SS-trooper-wannabes to shreds. They wanna police state? Give it to ’em: bad cops are immediately shipped off to labor camps, no loopholes and no exceptions, mandatory 5 year sentencing. How’s it feel?

    And take the CUNY higher-ups with them for hiring this murderer in the first place. Why not get the Son of Sam or Mark David Chapman to lecture too, they actually have much less blood on their hands!

  5. You know they are just protecting and serving? I just haven’t figured out who.

  6. They deserved every bit of it. No matter how much I dislike someone I would never think of calling a senior member of my community a “piece of shit” like these students did. While you may hate Petraeus, he served this country honorably for over 30 years and these kids are disrespectful vagabonds who deserve to be taught some manners. I hope the asphalt tasted good.

    • Served the Country? Are you kidding? He served himself and no one else. He didn’t even serve his wife. David Patraeus IS a piece of shit. We apparently have no right to protest a murderous, double dealing, dishonest, piece of shit like him.

    • He probably started out decent. But somewhere along the way he went over to the dark side. He is the sum of his career, and should not be teaching anywhere, IMHO.

    • Senior member of your community maybe, but not mine.
      Served your country honorably for 30 years maybe, but not mine.
      I’m an American, we have laws against those types of actions. We have codes of conduct. We have a higher standard. Maybe where your from kids “eating pavement” for peaceful protest is ok. But I live in America where, last I checked, freedom go peacefully assemble, and freedom of speech are protected.

    • Who even cares what they said? They could have said worse things, and even so, it wouldn’t have made their protest any less legitimate.

    • Kelly,did you drink some alcohol(whisky,baileys…etc)before writting those enormous stupid things???Did you receive some money by those aristocrats,to say those things? How can you say that???Are you rich?.If you are very rich,the explanation is you are defending your economic interests & supremacy.But if you are not part of the Elite…then you are very very brainwashed.A piece of advice : turn off the “brains eater” and look at the reality.


      • I am retired military and fought for your right to say all the moronic crap you throw out there, but I don’t regret it because I’ve been to places where citizens are not allowed to do so and I prefer our free speech lifestyle even if that means you get to voice your completely asinine opinion. So here’s my free speech that I bled for…I am unapologetic in my admiration for leaders like David Petraeus and hope to be a successful entrepreneur like Jeff Bezos someday. Don’t like it? Don’t care. Am I drinking the Kool Aid? I’m mixing a batch. Have a sip.

    • So they deserve to be in jail for practicing freedom of speech?! If that’s the case Ann Coulter should get life in prison for all the goddamn stuff that spews out of her mouth. The fact is she shouldn’t though because we have freedom of speech. They didn’t threaten him. It disturbs me that there are people like you in this country who think people should be locked up for vocing their opinions on our corrupt system of government and it’s leaders.

    • Kelly, you are retarded. While one should not disrespect ANYONE no matter what position of power they are, the fact of the matter remains is that someone who is supposed to be PROTECTING and ENFORCING the law decided on that day to BE the law. That officer should be suspended without pay, and put on trial for assault. The student posed no threat to that officer nor the other officers that were there. Also, the fact that it was a supervisor as well disgusts me. You are a prime example of the ignorance that runs in our country, and I advise that you better educate yourself.

    • So students deserved to be battered for basically doing what they were taught they could do? Did you even read over what you just posted? It was peaceful protest, that was then escalated by the police. Their civil rights were violated! Shame on you for such a comment!!

    • Served his country huh? The Stalinists, the SS, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, the CIA, et al…ALL served their countries too. WTF? He served his Empire via his corporate masters, just like Obama is doing. OBEDIENCE IS FOR COWARDS. At least NAZIs were more honest and less hypocritical than these Americanists-Imperialists, although they were also cowards because they were OBEDIENT!

  7. I am guessing it is payback for harassing Petraus a few days back as he was walking on campus. Authoritarian regimes will do that when you oppose them.

  8. Really, Kelly? Calling someone a name is now grounds for the government to physically assault someone? Huh. I’ll remember that the next time your little Tea Party friends are out on the sidewalk whining about something.

  9. I love how the woman yells that “it’s not against the wall to walk in the street”, when actually it is. It’s called jaywalking.

  10. Seriously tho I think those white shirt officers think they are the tough ones mean while they don’t do anything but cause problems and the the blues one are just there to back them up and I agree with Kathy for those who are arrested and got hurt should sue them!! Police these days use their power on the most stupidity thing!! this really made me don’t want to part of them when I graduate from college!

  11. You are drinking the Kool-Aid Kelly. There is nothing “honorable” about serving in the US Military, especially as an officer, most especially as a General. You justify “tasting the asphalt” because someone called him a name.

    The uS is slipping into fascism and it is because of people like you who justify the US’s crimes.

    • I totally agree with you.I love Aaron Russo and his film “America:from freedom to fascism”.

      Health and Anarchy.

    • Ben, those officers and soldiers serving in the US military are the ones protecting your rights and freedom to spew your bullshit everywhere. These students are so ignorant that they don’t even know it. This article is a clear demonstration of how little respect these kids have. I hope the asphalt tasted good also.

      • Amen! Respect the military for God sakes! General P – whether you like or dislike him he was still a military hero. The rest of you who hate the military can go move to a country like the Mideast and see how you like it. We still have some of our freedoms left.. Enjoy it while you can because they are being striped away slowly. As for the students who were abused by the police. No, I don’t agree what happen to them… But they should have not been harassing him… These students are just so ungrateful. Sad how all these young folks just don’t get it.

      • Military HERO? Honestly? I can discuss what respect is due a military officer, can accept that you think that these students went too far in their disrespect (not being there, I cannot say for sure how I feel about that; probably more in alignment with them than with you), but a HERO? Just because he served for decades? I think the word means more than that.

    • What I hate about this article is that it doesn’t supply the video of the CUNY students verbally assaulting David Petraeus. Yes they have freedom of speech, but they do NOT have the right to follow a man walking quietly down the street minding his own business screaming in his face that he is a “piece of shit” and that they can “smell the blood on him”. Supply one indisputable fact that makes him a murderer. Yes he cheated on his wife, but there are millions upon millions of people who do that every day, so in our society, he doesn’t deserve the harrassment that he recieves. Leave the man alone; you people do not understand any of the sacrifices or adversity that he has overcome in his life to be where he is doing what he enjoys: teaching. This group of CUNY students had this coming; they aren’t so innocent.

  12. (I’m a recent baruch grad)…… If you dont like him, YOU DONT HAVE TO TAKE HIS COURSE!!!!
    Politics aside, this video shows protesters pushing the blockade and provoking the police. Something along the lines of “eat shit fucking pig” is yelled over and over, which alone warrants a fine at the very minimum.
    we dont see exactly which party escalated the matter into violence, but the protesters deserved it to an extent.

    • Sean, you are an idiot that doesn’t know what you speak of. Calling a cop a pig is covered under the first amendment, as is giving the cops the finger. The Supreme Court and decided on this. If you don’t like what they have to say, you don’t have to listen or you could go to Russia where that type of discipline is used on citizen all the time and approved of. I was in the military and though I don’t agree with what everyone was saying, I joined to ensure that everyone had the right to express themselves as they see fit. You on the other hand are a disappointment as an American.

      • You may need a history lesson or two also bud. The First Amendment right is not all inclusive. While I don’t necessarily consider this hate speech, SCOTUS has played both sides as to whether it is protecting by Amen. 1.

        Also, Time, Place & Manner restrictions apply. Using shrewd profanity in a crowded city street certainly seems to break some regulations now, doesn’t it?

        Instead of making a preconceived judgment and holding on to it for dear life, I suggest you take a good look at the history, the current issue, and the events surrounding to really consider which side is at fault here.

    • And how does that warrant a fine?

  13. This is perhaps the most biased article I have ever read. The comments themselves make me even more sick to my stomach. It’s youth like those on this website that are causing America to slip by the wayside.

    • Right, it’s not war criminals like Patraeus forcing corporate will by force on the world, and even on US citizens, it’s not that at all.. it’s the kids using nasty words! Christ, couldn’t make up willful ignorance like yours. Just because you lack a spine doesn’t mean the younger generations should be ‘punished’ for theirs.

    • And it’s YOUTH like this who will see YOU swinging from a lamp post !!!

  14. You are all a bunch of mentally slow, liberal fuckheads who deserve everything that came to you in this video. Seriously, you are the type of people that cause me to lose faith in America every day. Man the fuck up and fight for your country, MAYBE then, you’ll have some credibility, until then, SHUT THE FUCK UP. You are all a bunch of pXXXXXX who are too afraid to actually do anything.

  15. I’m so glad that after ten years of fighting for our country, we are getting called war criminals. You want to see disgusting violence? Watch your best friend get blown up in the car in front of you by people who want nothing more than to kill infidels. Getting punched in the face for being an asshole to a man who served his country for over thirty years is not disgusting. Get off your intellectual high horse and stop pretending like your intelligent enough to know what the United States grand strategy is, because I promise you your CUNY bachelors is not good enough for that.

    • When you’re responsible for helping set up torture centres and sectarian death squads? Then yeah, you are a war criminal. Considering that Petraeus signed off on this there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it–Petraeus is a war criminal.

  16. Does anyone have a better video? I support the protest, but it’s really impossible from this video to see what happened.

  17. These kids deserved exactly what they had coming. Such an outstanding display of professionalism displayed by the NYPD. Good job, officers.

    I hope more of this occurs. Freedom is not free, it was earned by the blood and sweat from the service members like Gen. Petraeus and those currently serving even the ungrateful people of the United States.

    If these kids actually went to school instead of protesting subjects they’ve only read online in bias “news” articles, they’d actually sound a little bit credible.
    This article is so one sided. I hope you don’t see yourself as an actual journalist.

    A REAL New Yorker

  18. If you watch closely the student in the red Bernie pushes the officer first and so that in new York is considered assault on an officer and these protests ARE harassment you can protest but if you single a specific person out it stops being a protest and becomes harassment these “students” or more likely undissaplined children deserve exactly what the courts is going to do to them

  19. These kids proves what our education system turns out mental handicapped kids with no respect for authority, no respect for adults. Shame on their parents. genral General Petraeus is a American hero although not perfect help liberate thousands. Throw the book at these punks.

  20. “unprovoked police attack” Calling people pigs is unprovoked??? Although I sympathize with the students and encourage them to be involved with such issues, this article itself is absolutely biased and pretty bad journalism. The best way to get people on your side is to first and foremost approach with honesty….total honesty. The message itself will follow through.

  21. They were forced into the street, then arrested. It’s entrapment.

    Petraeus may find that he is more welcomed at a university that doesn’t have so many wounded war vets attending classes – like Harvard; a place where tyrants can profess elitist public policy unchecked.


    1.) We are not journalists, this is not a “news site”, the Sparrow Project is a boutique PR agency that advocates for causes. We deliver messages for our activist clients and partners to the media. Almost all of our PR materials will be one-sided as we do our best to represent our client’s position (in this case the CUNY students). Everything we circulate is thoroughly fact checked and vetted, albeit one-sided.

    2.) We allow any dissenting comments on posts as long as they do not physically threaten another commenter, and as long as they refrain from using sexist, homophobic, racist, speciesist, and other similar oppressive language that infringes upon the freedom of others. Above we have allowed controversial posts but have redacted several lines wherein overtly sexist language was used and several instances wherein language deriding physically or mentally challenged people was used.

    • Then you need different clients. The ones you represent now will earn your brand a reputation that you will never overcome.

  23. I may be an idealist at heart, but screaming “fuck you pigs” is not the best way to protest. If you think of some of the more successful protest in our great country’s past, they have been non-violent / peaceful.

    Do you think DMLKJ would have condoned such actions during the civil rights movement when people were literally getting beaten over the head, sprayed with fire hoses, and had NO rights? But they still got it done.

    Just giving my two cents on this issue.

  24. 1. It’s dishonorable to serve in our military????? Really? That’s so unquestionably ignorant to say it and to actually believe it.

    2. I lose faith in America when I see videos like this.

    3. Congratulations to them- they got a small youtube clip that will be watched by a few viewers and then it will be forgotten along with their protest. 9 out of 10 people could care less about your protest and it will be forgotten and once again you’ll be a small minority that has a ridiculous viewpoint. Petraeus’s failure’s will probably be bigger than any of the protesters successes. Not that he will win, but these protestors will lose because NO ONE REALLY CARES. Go back to class

  25. As a student, then faculty member at CUNY, I am pleased to tell Austin that CUNY has a long history of public protest and activism, so this protest is one of countless protests that collectively do make an impact. We frequently challenge the decisions of the CUNY administration, which often do not benefit or represent the diverse population of this city-wide public university. Had they consulted students and faculty, or even stopped to consider their choice of appointing Petraeus (initially for an obscene amount of money for one course), they would have quickly understood the intense opposition. It is in exercising free speech and the right to protest that we help to preserve it. I applaud these students for their civic engagement.

  26. I notice the use of a crowd control technique called kettling here, which was used 2-3 years ago by the British police in a protest in London. Kettling is essentially barricading the site of the protest so that no one can leave or enter it. Effectively, in this instance, it amounts to mass detainment of peaceful protestors, and was clearly used to provoke a response. Shame on NYPD!

  27. “Fuck you, Pig”. Certainly a peaceful protest surrounding Gen. Petraeus. Are you all kidding? The officer is very clearly provoked and for this reason blows his whistle to call for backup. Then, further action is incited by protesters, so police run to the scene.

    This movement is PATHETIC. I, too, believe in the right to protest peacefully, but this is far from it. Completely disregarding my thoughts on the nature of the protest, I find the CUNY students comments repulsive and adjacent to the cause they are supposed to be supporting.

  28. Are you serious? What’s the matter, is Columbia full, so you all have to go to CUNY? Get a life and a clue. GEN Patraeus is more qualified than 90% of the CUNY Tenured staff to talk about anything. You should be so glad that he is there. In the end, you have no standing to dictate policy to the University, so if you don’t like their business decisions, you have the right to vote with your feet and matriculate somewhere else.

  29. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox
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