Students at the University of Southern California are fighting back against what they feel was a racially-biased, heavy-handed shutdown of an off-campus party.

After a neighbor made a noise complaint, police arrived and the situation escalated to the appearance of dozens of officers in riot gear and six arrests. Political Science major Jason Sneed says the police “were acting like they were going to war with us.”

Meanwhile, the LAPD contend that after attempting to shut down the party peacefully, the students became belligerent and violent.

From the L.A. Times:

Police spoke to the organizer of the African American party, who said he would lower the music and shut down the party.

Police then went to the other party across the street, which started shutting down, Lt. Andy Neiman said.

“During that time, Party 1 started up again. We went back to Party 1, having warned the organizer,” Neiman said. “We went to cite the organizer and while we were trying to talk to him out front and cite him, another partygoer tried to intervene.”

Other partygoers started pelting officers with debris, authorities said.  Additional police responded to a “officer needs help” call. Security from USC’s department of public safety also arrived on scene.

“It was a party that got out of control, people were throwing things at the police, so we donned protective gear,” Neiman said.

Students from both of the parties have since posted video and personal accounts accusing the LAPD of excessive force and racial bias.

Yesterday, students staged a sit-in on campus in protest of the incident.

On a rainy Monday afternoon, more than a hundred students gathered on the steps of the Tommy Trojan statue in protest. They held signs that read “Stop Criminalizing Us,” while others chanted “Create your own world.” Many of the protesters were black, but they were joined by fellow classmates of other races.

“They definitely harassed the wrong students,” said Teremy Jackson, 19, a sophomore neuroscience major. “We are scholars and high-achieving students. . . We didn’t do anything wrong.”

Read more at the L.A. Times


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