Students hold sit-in in response to LAPD presence at party

Photos by Razan Al Marzouqi


More than 100 students gathered in front of Tommy Trojan for a sit-in Monday afternoon in response to events early Saturday morning at a student party, in which six USC students were detained by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Approximately at 2 a.m., more than 79 LAPD officers responded to a noise complaint at a student party early Saturday morning on 23rd and Hoover streets, just north of campus.

From noon to 4 p.m., students sat in the rain, holding signs that read “79 LAPD Officers” and “There is power in solidarity” and showed images from the Saturday morning response.

Tyler Hicks, a junior majoring in international relations and minoring in fine arts, was one of three students who organized the sit-in.

“I organized this event in response to an incident that happened this weekend on Saturday morning and also because of incidents that have happened in the past,” Hicks said.

Nate Howard, a senior majoring communication, was the host of the party, which celebrated the end of the school year. Howard said that when the LAPD came to his house, he complied accordingly.

“Two o’clock came, LAPD came and immediately told us to shut the party down and we did,” Howard said. “As students of color, we know that whenever LAPD comes, we’re out.”

Howard said he feels he was not treated with respect by the officers and that they acted with unnecessary force.

“Now one of the officers came and confronted me, pushing me out — I know my rights,” Howard said. “When he realized that he couldn’t take advantage of me as he does probably the other black men in this community, he felt a certain way … so he pushed me and another officer pushed me, and I was handcuffed.”

Many attended the sit-in to show solidarity with their fellow students. Jessica Flores, a freshman majoring in communication who witnessed the events at the party and attended the protest in support, agreed that the actions by the LAPD was excessive.

“It was a completely innocent party. Just a bunch of people getting together celebrating and the fact that there was a white party across the street and they didn’t say anything to that party — I think that’s wrong and present-day racism,” Flores said.

Protest organizers said they hope that students will begin to take notice the power they have to change these types of situations. During the sit-in students chanted “create our world.”

Rikiesha Pierce, a senior majoring in sociology who also helped to organize the event, said the sit-in was also amplified by the students’ use of social media.

“What I could say about this is that students are recognizing their power,” Pierce said.
“This is huge because people pulled out their cameras out and took photographs and put them on Instagram and tweeted about it and put it on Facebook.”

The university responded to the incident Monday morning. Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Jackson said the university seeks to address the concerns of the students involved.

“We have heard from many students who are upset with the events of early Saturday morning at an off-campus party,” Jackson said in a statement. “We understand their concern and are working closely with them, and commit ourselves to doing all we can to ensure respectful treatment of student at peaceful social gatherings.”

The LAPD has launched a full investigation regarding the incident.

A forum discussion between DPS and the LAPD will be held tomorrow at 6 p.m. in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center Ballroom.

19 replies
  1. USC Student
    USC Student says:

    The students at the sit in and those protesting are not upset because LAPD came to shut down the party. They are educated college students who clearly understand that a noise complaint at 2am is perfectly reasonable. DPS breaks up parties around this time of night all the time. That is not the issue. The issue is that INNOCENT students were shoved, pushed, thrown onto cars, cuffed, and arrested for no good reason. Last time I checked, it wasn’t illegal to ask an officer a question. Many of the students who were detained by the police were simply trying to get an understanding of what was going on, why there were so many police at the scene, why all the streets were blocked off, asking if they could walk to their cars, asking questions while attempting to disperse from the party. The LAPD response was completely unwarranted. They had NO reason to use such excessive force in arresting any of those students. When the white kids across the street asked the officers questions they werent thrown on the grown kneed in the back by grown male police officers. No, they were told to go inside and stay safe. SAFE FROM WHO? Because the people who needed protecting last Friday night, were instead being bullied and harmed by those who are supposed to “protect and serve” our communities.

  2. Paul Howard
    Paul Howard says:

    It is becoming clear to every reasonable person that things were thrown at the cops who first arrived. They had to ask for backup. Now Dr. Michael Jackson (who was responsible for reviewing and approving the offsite promoter for the ill-fated Halloween Party) is appeasing these students again. It seems that the USC administration doesn’t get it. One of the purposes of a USC education is to teach young people to respect the rights of others and obey the law. These rights include the right to peace and quiet in accordance with the law. When the cops arrive at the request of noise annoyed neighbors and say shut it down that means SHUT IT DOWN!!!

    • USC parent
      USC parent says:

      Paul Howard,

      You are unfortunately correct. Dr. Michael Jackson has a nearly pathologic inability to assert responsible leadership and direction to students. We almost made it to the end of the year and Jackson’s removal from his position without another well-publicized incident damaging to USC.

      Being permissive, turning a blind eye to student behavior issues and acting as a peer instead of an administrator has been a chronic problem for Dr. Jackson. Hopefully, his replacement will have the motivation and skills the job description requires.

  3. CityEye
    CityEye says:

    The fact is there were over 400 students who had been drinking, being loud spilling into the neighborhoods at 2am. Neighbors called the cops. Obviously these students are the product of bad parenting and don’t respect others. They are making this about race because the host of the party works for MTV. Postings on media blogs are supporting the officers. These kids want publicity. Did you see how these so called college student spoke and dressed to the media? This is giving USC a negative reputation across the nation. People are more intelligent and know the cops were met with cursing things being thrown at them. Just last Oct there were 4 shootings in the area. Two students were gunned down before that. Other mature students have been demanding more security. You ask why they white party was left alone. They didn’t have 400 students, they respected when told to turned it down and they behaved like mature adults. It had nothing to do with race

    • jc
      jc says:

      Interesting point, but the host and many attendees of the party across the street have openly said that they had equivalent amount of people attend their party. what is your response to that?

  4. TTTB
    TTTB says:

    There is a saying; A person will change, on his own, from the inside, or the circumstances of life-outside forces-will change him. It’s a futile attempt to have dialogue with anyone who has a resolve that can not be penetrated. This resolve is the constitution from which the LAPD regulates Black people in Los Angeles. It’s an ideology that has been perpetuated throughout the history of the LAPD and America for that matter. If you’re provoked, or even irritated by the ambiguity of this charge, then I beseech you, investigate the fictitious innuendos the permeate throughout and reside in the homes of non-Black Americans about Black Americans. This notion continues to be perpetuated by our teachers, who were taught by their parents-which were reiterated by their teachers- who were taught by their parents who received their perception of Black people from a film entitled, “Birth of a Nation” (1915), by D.W.Griffith. Research how this film dictated the climate of our country for an entire century. But I digress. Once we are honest that our rejection to something, foreign or unfamiliar, is purely base on our unwillingness to consider, objectively, with the INTENTION to understand, a reality that seems incomprehensible to us, but is a life lived by others, then we can discuss, confront, and resolve all differences. Understanding is confrontational. Honesty is confrontational. Reconstruction if confrontational. Confrontation allows us to grow, but only if we are open to change. I am proud to be a Trojan. I am proud to be an American. And I am proud to be a father If my son were to ever hit another child for no reason, he would be reprimanded by me because he is not allowed to be a bully any person because a bully hurts other people. To give him a more potent reality of what bullying could potentially cause, i would show him video footage and literature about how children his age had been driven to suicide due to a bully.Therefore, when USC, LAPD, or the USA reacts inappropriately, it is our responsibility as Americans to stand for liberty an justice, in attempts to correct a behavior that could be problematic to the advancement of the people of our school, our city, and our country. Unfortunately if one doesn’t change from the inside, the circumstances of life will change us. And that change can be a hash reality. How many people can we name that have became activist for the research of cancer, or AIDS only after someone close to them were diagnosed with it or died from it? That’s a harsh and devastating circumstance of life. To experience and witness the slow decay of someone you know as strong and independent be reduced to a stagnant body that can’t use the restroom on their own or have to wear a diaper will transform one’s sensibilities, and opened them up to how real those deceases are and how imperative it is for research to be done to find a cure. It will change your life. I know, personally. We have to realize that it’s difficult for a privileged, well-to-do, family to understand the plight of the unfortunate circumstances of the poor. That takes an empathy that most of the wealthy don’t realize that they possess. Their understanding is feeding the homeless on holiday’s then looking at them with contempt if a homeless person ask for change outside of a 7-11 market. Its difficult for the poor to understand the plights of the wealthy, because it takes experience to understand the grim company the comes with wealth; the facade, the maintenance, the loneliness, the pressure. When a young person is passionate about becoming a filmmaker his/her pursuit is unconditional. When our pursuit to understand each other is more significant than our desire to be right, we will move forward as people. If I can say one thing thats encouraging; the racist parents, and grandparents that perpetuate hate to their children-cause it’s taught-is dying off. Although racisim ,and prejudices are still alive and well, as we witness Gays struggle for the right to be married-to be treated as human beings in their own country-the lines that were set to divide us are beginning blurred. So as you continue to confront, pick your battles. Debate with people that are open to change, not to someone that considers themselves to be superior to another person. Remember, the racist generation is dying off, and they are upset because their children are recognizing that their parents ideology is flawed, Parents are being face with the reality that their children actions can not be controlled by the manipulation of their parents, or religion. Their children are starting to pay attention, realize, and understand things that contradicts the realities forced on them by their parent. The parents have lost control and they are scared shitless.

  5. Tom F
    Tom F says:

    Parties in No. University Park are nothing new, There is an old urban legend of old Mr Edward Doheny (former USC Trustee), complaining about his neighbor, Rosco “Fatty” Arbuckle (silent film star), for having loud of parties late at night with his Hollywood friends.

    This is one of the problems! “Waiting for LAPD to show up?” Nobody wants an uneven or unfair response. The police shouldn’t have to show up at all, It’s costly to tax payers and should be unnecessary for responsible students. All loud parties should be shut down, regardless of who is in attendances or the time of day.

    Congratulation to those hard working students that are graduating, Student should understand, their are not the only people on the planet! This is a city of 3.5 million people, the rest of the community has to get up in the morning, adults have to go to work, young kids have to go to school, and many USC students still haven’t finished their work yet! Some work night shift and only get to sleep in the day. Just because you go to a precious school, doesn’t mean your exempt from the law! Noise ordinances in LA are 24/7. (Loud noises from any sound making or amplifying device;
    On any private property, public street, of any other public. In such a manner as to interfere with the peace and quiet of any person within or upon any of such places.)
    It’s never right to have a party that disturbs your neighbors. They have rights too! It’s been my experience that grads lean this, years later, when they start their careers and families, and have unruly neighbors to deal with. Part of the blame is USC’s, for not educating student how to function in a civil society, and they are part of this community, not above it! This community has standards and they should be enforced.

    Resident and Homeowner in No. University Park.

    In those immortal words of Rodney King “Can we all get along?”

  6. William
    William says:

    Have to agree with Tom. This is standard response to a party. And LAPD’s response is standard towards anyone who throws stuff at them. What idiot would throw things at the police, then resist their instructions to disperse and then further antagonize them? If you got a beating or arrested, you earned it.

  7. Tom
    Tom says:

    “Two o’clock came, LAPD came and immediately told us to shut the party down and we did”
    — All USC parties on the Row or Menlo get shut down at 2am on the dot, if not much earlier. This is standard procedure.

    “As students of color, we know that whenever LAPD comes, we’re out.”
    — How is this response different for any other race? When LAPD shows up to any USC party, it is immediately broken up.

    People love to play the victim card, given the opportunity.

  8. Max
    Max says:

    I appreciate the coverage of this important event. My one thought is that in the areal photo above, you can count, one-by-one, at least 100 people, so why the “more than 50 students” estimate?

    • Student at the sit-in
      Student at the sit-in says:

      Yupp and in the midst of it all we read your ignorant comments….for all to hear just how dumb you are.

      • USC Mom w/ Greek Son
        USC Mom w/ Greek Son says:

        It’s very sad you chose to attack me for pointing out that many are showing school spirit at the sit-in yesterday. From the photos, no one was really sitting. I saw a lot of standing.

        I will pray for you and yes, you are forgiven!

        God bless!

      • USC Alum
        USC Alum says:

        Is there a video of this? I would love to see that. This woman and her delusional comments have been the highlight (err, lowlight) of this whole situation.

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