Poetry News

Poet Geoffery O'Brien joins the Occupy Berkeley protest fray

By Harriet Staff

Thanks to the tip from Poets & Writers, we see that poet Geoffery O'Brien has had a run-in, quite similar to Bob Hass's, it appears, with the police on UC Berkeley's campus:

There's a lot of controversy at U.C. Berkeley after two videos surfaced showing law enforcement officers dragging to "Occupy Cal" demonstrators by their hair.

The images triggered outrage among the faculty at Cal. Officers forcefully yanked people from their huddle, eventually forcing them to the ground.

At one point in the video, an officer is shown pulling Professor Celeste Langan by her hair. Langan was then arrested.

"I'm distressed, and it feels like one example of which there were many that day of the police being the provocateurs," said U.C. Berkeley professor Geoffrey O'Brien.

O'Brien says his colleague is still sore from the arrested. Langan was in the first wave of police action last Wednesday during an "Occupy Cal" event.

Later in the evening, police moved in to forcefully dismantle any tents that were set up. O'Brien said he was injured when he tried to intervene with what he said was the brutal arrest by an Alameda County Sheriff's deputy.

"I said, 'if you're going to hit somebody, hit a professor,'" O'Brien admitted. "The cop said, 'you want some?' It was a rhetorical question, and I was hit viciously in the ribs and went to the ground."

O'Brien says officers were brutal, and he's demanding answers from the university.

Originally Published: November 14th, 2011