We, the Columbia University Asian American Alliance, acknowledge that on Friday, September 14, an incident occurred on 114th Street and Broadway between officers of the New York Police Department and an Asian-American student. Many accounts—including the article "Police, Students In Confrontation Over Arrest" (Sept. 17, 2007)—point to evidence of excessive force and racial bias among the officers of the NYPD against the student.
If the details concerning the police's racial overtones and the excessive use of force are true, we condemn this abuse of authority by the NYPD officers present. Furthermore, if racial discrimination was indeed committed by those officers, AAA will take the necessary steps to move towards dialogue and action that will make these issues clear to the student body and general public.
Finally, we acknowledge that this incident may represent a larger problem within the NYPD and its treatment of people of color in New York City. In response to this, AAA would like to mobilize with other groups in the NYC area and student organizations on campus to take measures to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.
AAA recognizes that the student involved in this incident clearly violated New York State's zero-tolerance policy of drinking in public. However, AAA believes that regardless of the crime, the NYPD should not under any circumstances practice racial bias or excessive use of force.
The author is the chair of the Asian American Alliance.