Racist police beating at Ohio State
reports on an incident of police brutality on the Ohio State University campus that is helping to galvanize anti-racist activists.
ON OCTOBER 22, the Ohio State University (OSU) community was outraged by the news that Joseph Hines, an African American student, had been viciously assaulted by Columbus police.
As images and a video circulated around the web, we received a second shock: This incident of police brutality had occurred almost two months before—but there was not a word about it, either among students or the local media.
Hines was beaten and then arrested by police on August 29, 2012, at 11:45 p.m., just across from the Student Union.
According to a video on “OSU police beating,” a Facebook page started up by Hines’ supporters, Hines was “pepper-sprayed, hog-tied, and beaten unconscious” by a gang of police officers, causing him nerve damage in his left hand (he is left-handed), a concussion, and various lacerations and cuts all over his body and face. A picture reportedly taken days after the beating shows Hines with his left eye swollen shut.
Although details remain sparse for legal reasons, one of the things that has outraged activists and supporters was that police didn’t even feel they needed to give a reason or explanation for their actions.
Although a “Code 10-3” had been called—signaling that an officer was in trouble—Hines was, in fact, never charged with assaulting the cops. Instead, according to the Franklin Country Municipal Court website, he was charged for multiple counts of littering, resisting arrest and obstruction of justice, and some counts related to alcohol possession.
But you can’t find a word on the website about the fact that Hines was the victim of police brutality. Or what appears equally obvious to many on campus: that Hines was yet another victim of racism.
THE BRUTAL attack by police on Joseph Hines is the latest and most gruesome event in a virtual epidemic of racially charged incidents at OSU over the last few months.
On April 4, the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center was the target of racist vandalism when the words “Long Live Zimmerman” were spray-painted on the wall. The slogan referred to George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida on February 26.
… THE ANTI-RACIST and anti-hate forces that OSU activists have mobilized over the past several months urgently need to come together again to demand answers from OSU President Gordan Gee, Mayor Michael Coleman and the Columbus police about the assault on Joseph Hines.
The struggle is happening at a key moment for campus anti-racist activism on campus. This year, various groups inside and outside SYG—including the Asian American Association, South Asian Students Association, International Socialist Organization, ex-Occupy Ohio Staters and United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS)—have worked together to connect the dots between different instances of racism and hate.
Weekly SYG speak-outs against racism, hate and discrimination have been organized to create “safe spaces” for students to come together on campus to talk through what they have experienced. A petition and protest against a new $1,000 fee for international students is also in the works.