There is uneasy tension at American University following the emergence of disturbing footage of police officers dragging a black student from her room.
Students of the University Monday demonstrated near the campus student union to demand justice for the student identified as Gianna Wheeler as she appeared before the university disciplinary committee for a conduct review.
The incident occurred September 27 at the Frequency Apartments in Washington, D.C., an off-campus housing unit owned by the University, The Eagle reported.
First posted on Twitter by former AU student and freelance activist Aminta Zea, the Video showed the police officers removing Wheeler into the hallway by her arms and legs.
URGENT: @AmericanU has allowed for their clientele and DC PD to violently attack and remove a young Black student from her home without proper evidence. When is it EVER ok for a young woman to be attacked by MULTIPLE cops. AU doesn’t care about its Black students. #HandsOffGianna pic.twitter.com/7NZP0gyCHC— Aminta (@tangibleunknown) September 27, 2019
“You’re dragging me,” Wheeler shouted in the video. “Get off of me.”
“This is my dorm room,” she also shouted.
Wheeler’s dastardly treatment and her subsequent appearance before the University’s disciplinary committee enraged some students, protesting on Monday in her support.
The protest was organized by Black Lives Matter D.C.
Black Morning! Yesterday was Powerful, as we took to our streets for a #DayOfOutOutrage We would like to thank everyone who came out to #ProtectOurSisters @AmericanU students Rise Up!#HandsOffGianna She was found Not Guilty of all charges @untilfreedom #WeKeepUsSafe #sayhername pic.twitter.com/v9tSKMt0cT— BlackLivesMatter DC (@DMVBlackLives) October 29, 2019
“What should have been the university’s earnest concern about the mental and emotional well-being of the student, was weaponized and used to permanently traumatize Gianna,” Black Lives Matter organizers said online.
According to them, seven police officers went into Wheeler’s room and removed her “against her will.”
“One police officer also took the time to mock and threaten, that Gianna was going to be on suspension from the school,” they said. “Recently we have seen how the egregious misapplication of force and the police state mentality can lead to state-sanctioned murder, as in the case of Atatiana Jefferson.”
Remarking on the protest the University said in a statement that: “American University is committed to the right to free expression, including the freedom to express dissent.
“We welcome student organizations to exercise these freedoms on campus guided by factors that include safety, the rights of others and the normal functioning of the university. It’s part of our mission of building inclusive communities, learning and sharing knowledge.”