Home Social Justice OUPD Chief of Police explains logistics of nonviolent protest to F*ckRapeCulture

OUPD Chief of Police explains logistics of nonviolent protest to F*ckRapeCulture

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Chief Andrew D. Powers of the Ohio University Police Department wants you to know that he’s not interested in arresting people.

“Unless a situation is causing imminent danger of causing harm, we’re going to warn people before we arrest them. Our goal is not to arrest people,” Powers said during an open conversation about nonviolent protest with F*ckRapeCulture in the Women’s Center on Thursday night.

Powers explained further that his job is to protect everybody’s First Amendment rights, regardless of the message.

“We want you to be able to express what you have to say and share your thoughts and ideas because that’s what a college campus is all about,” Powers said. “We don’t want to infringe on that, we don’t want to stop that from happening and we don’t want to give people a criminal record. You’re not here to get a criminal record, you’re here to get an education. Being able to speak and exchange ideas is a very important part of that education. “

The legal elements of disorderly conduct that apply more to protests and activism are inconvenience, annoyance and alarm, Powers said, noting that while marching down Court Street with a parade permit is lawful, pushing and screaming at passersby is not.

In an incident last year with protests at a Board of Trustees meeting, Powell met with students ahead of time who had the intention of being arrested.

“Civil disobedience, meaning you get arrested in the process of protesting your case is obviously a legitimate form of protest. If that’s your goal, I also respect that,” Powers said.

Powers said he is willing to meet with activists ahead of time to go over what is legal, what is not and to what extent they can be punished by the law.

Organizing member Claire Seid met with Patty McSteen, associate dean of students, last semester to arrange a meeting with Powers about how to end sexual assault, and Thursday’s meeting formed around that idea.

“In Ohio, sexual assault laws kind of lag behind where we are in civil society. Ohio laws don’t encompass affirmative consent. We can only charge based on what the law says, on what the code says,” Powers said.

He added that when officers ask how much alcohol a survivor had consumed at the time of the assault, he’s asking so that he can build a case against the suspect taking advantage of an incapacitated victim who is unable to consent.

Gwen D’Amico, president of F*ckRapeCulture, believed that Powers was brutally honest.

“I was a little surprised about the law that he talked about. Instead of being just intoxicated you have to be incapacitated,” D’Amico said. “I thought it was really awesome that he got the point across that he is there to work with us, not against us.”

F*ckRapeCulture plans to use its newfound knowledge of nonviolent protest to fight for feminist causes throughout the year.

The group meets every Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Women’s Center.

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