On Sunday night, February 24, 1991, we attended a peace rally in Lafayette Park, during which we witnessed police brutality toward demonstrators.
This statement begins at the moment the police charged into the circle of people linking arms around the drummers.
All of a sudden a line of police forcefully and rapidly charged into a group of demonstrators who were surrounding the drummers. The demonstrators' arms were linked, and they were standing facing out of the circle. The force with which the police rammed into the group forced those in front to fall backward onto people behind them. The police were knocking people down and throwing buckets (used as drums). Other police on horses in the same proximity were pushing away anyone who tried to come forward to help people. It was utter chaos!
While this was going on, another incident caught our attention. Three police were forcing a young man face down onto the street, between a paddy wagon and the chain link fence (which is right on the curb). It was a narrow space—approximately two feet wide. As they were pushing him down, they were beating him repeatedly on the back with sticks or billy clubs. It appeared to us that they were using their full strength with the sticks. When they had him lying on the ground, face down, they bent his legs back, crossed them at the ankles, and kept pushing them against his back.
At this point we were pushed away by other police. When we looked back, the man was standing at the back of the paddy wagon, surrounded by police. It appeared that they might have been handcuffing him, but we couldn't actually see what was going on.
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