The focus on Columbia University has overshadowed the extent of protests—and police brutality—at public schools.

By Sarah Baum, The Progressive

The night the riot police came to Columbia University, those of us still standing at the City College of New York (CCNY) pro-Palestine encampment watched in horror, in real time via live stream, as police brutalized students en masse. I’d spent the week oscillating between the two camps documenting the movement. CCNY  is a mere twenty-minute walk, or a couple subway stops, from Columbia.

Word somehow got back to us that the thick, dark wall of police, with their riot gear and paddy wagons, were making their way uptown. We knew CCNY’s encampment would be their next stop.

students hold flags and protest banners at a palestine protest

Sure enough, just minutes before midnight on May Day, the NYPD burst through the gates, lights flashing, batons ready to meet the few dozen unarmed protestors left—throughout the night, the police had reportedly deployed tasers on anti-war demonstrators, shattered their teeth, and broke their bones. Iqra, a recent Hunter College graduate and organizer in her twenties, recalls how protestors were dragged to the precinct and left for hours without proper food, water or medical attention.

But what shocked her most were the headlines the next day.

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