CMU students arrested during G20 protests

Credit: FIle Photo Credit: FIle Photo

On Sept. 26, several Carnegie Mellon students, along with other Pittsburgh community members, were arrested by Pittsburgh police and charged with disturbing the peace.

Junior art major Casey Li Brander was walking across the lawn of the Cathedral of Learning when riot police came onto the scene. She stated in an e-mail that the police used smoke bombs and pepper spray on the crowds on the lawn.

According to Brander, she was not aware of any organized protests happening at the Cathedral of Learning, and was crossing the lawn to get from Fifth Avenue to Forbes Avenue.

According to another Carnegie Mellon student, who wished not to be identified due to his pending trial, there was an organized protest occurring downtown at the Allegheny County Jail.

He said that he was downtown when a friend sent him a text message about the protest, and so he joined a group of Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh students, as well as individuals he identified as “anarchists.”

He referred to the protest as “quiet,” and said that some of the protesters who grew bored decided to run a few blocks away to “confuse the police.” The police followed them down a block, but otherwise did nothing else threatening, unlike Brander’s encounter.

He said that it was not until after he was leaving the protest that he and the others were arrested. While some of the protesters left on buses, he was among a group who walked from Downtown on Forbes. After passing Duquesne University, he said, the group noticed that they were being trailed by a group of police. They were also being approached by police in front of them.

The officers in front of the group told them they could not continue up Forbes and needed to turn around. It was at this point that he said the group was trapped, and the police came through the crowd to begin arresting some of the people.

The student was charged with disturbing the peace, and he said it was because they had assembled too large of a crowd. He was detained for several hours at Allegheny County Jail and will go to trial on Oct. 21.

A Facebook event titled “SOLIDARITY AGAINST BARBARITY: Support Casey Li Brander at trial on Wednesday” created by a Carnegie Mellon senior and social and decision sciences major Stuti Pandey urges support for Brander along with the other Carnegie Mellon students involved in the arrests. According to the group’s information, students’ trials will be held on Oct. 21 and 23, but Brander’s court date was set earlier, on Sept. 30. Brander was unavailable for comment on the results of her trial.

In a Facebook message sent to members of “Carnegie Mellon Students for Barack Obama (Official Chapter),” Brander urged action on the part of Carnegie Mellon students for her and other students who were involved in the arrests. In the message, she noted that eight Carnegie Mellon students, along with at least 100 Pittsburgh community members, were arrested that night.
Sabrina Porter and Jessica Thurston contributed to the reporting of this article.