January 28, 2013

Four arrested in trauma center protest

Four protesters were arrested by UCPD officers at the new hospital near East 57th Street and South Maryland Avenue yesterday afternoon. The demonstration was in protest of the lack of an adult trauma care facility at the University of Chicago Medical Center in light of the $700 million spent by the University on the Center for Care and Discovery.

Protesters from South Side organization Southsiders Together for Organizing Power (STOP) and their youth group affiliate, Fearless Leading the Youth (FLY), organized the sit-in at the new hospital building, set to open February 23. The sit-in was also attended by members of the group Students for Health Equity, which is comprised of students from the College. A small group of the protesters were prepared to be arrested during the occupation of the hospital property, according to Darius Lightfoot, co-founder of FLY. Two of the arrested protesters, Alex Goldenberg (A.B. ’06), the director of STOP, and a 17-year-old high school student, were part of this group.

According to Duff Morton, a seventh-year graduate student in the anthropology department, the situation became violent within a few minutes of the declaration of the protesters’ peaceful intentions.

Those arrested were Toussaint Losier, an eighth-year graduate student in the history department, a student at King College Prep High School, Goldenberg, and Jacob Klippenstein, the cameraman for the protesters.

“The rest of us were in the lobby supporting, and two University of Chicago Police Department SUVs zipped up with sirens blaring, and as soon as they came in they started pulling people to the ground and hitting Toussaint [Losier] in particular and the cameraman [Klippenstein],” Morton said. “Once they got him [Toussaint] on the ground they just kept hitting him. It was really really shocking.”

Jesus Campuzano, who works with STOP, confirmed the situation. He said he saw one UCPD officer point to Losier as a target and, with the aid of two other officers, beat and pull Losier to the ground. Campuzano said Losier did not resist.

Losier, Goldenberg, Klippenstein, and the high school student are being held at a Chicago Police Department (CPD) station on West 51st Street and South Wentworth Avenue, and have been since roughly 3:45 p.m. yesterday afternoon. According to their lawyer, Ben Meyer, they are being held without charges and were delayed counsel by UCPD from about 8 p.m., when Meyer first sought to speak with the defendants, until midnight. Meyer said that CPD is waiting for UCPD to process the charges so they can move forward. UCPD informed Meyer that the high school student will be released upon completion of processing. It is not known when Losier, Goldenberg, or Klippenstein will be released.

- Additional Reporting by Ankit Jain