Emory Ph.D. Student Raises Questions About Arrest

December 12, 2011

Joseph Diaz, a Ph.D. student in philosophy at Emory University, has posted an account of his arrest last week in the university's library. According to his account, he tried to help a homeless woman he knows who frequents the library when he saw police talking to her, and the police then roughly demanded his identification and -- unhappy he didn't provide it instantly -- arrested him. A friend who was with him made a video now on YouTube, prompting many to question the actions of Emory police:


Emory released the following statement on the incident: "Emory police officers responded to a call from library staff regarding a woman who was sitting down in the entrance vestibule of the Woodruff Library and appeared to need assistance. As the officers attempted to assess the woman’s condition, they were repeatedly interrupted by a man who said he was a student and demanded to know what they were doing. He refused repeatedly to leave the vestibule and refused to produce an ID, as Emory students are required to do upon request by university officers. The woman in distress was transported to a hospital for medical evaluation. She was not arrested. The student, identified as Joseph Diaz, was arrested for obstructing or hindering law enforcement officers. Emory is still actively gathering information about this incident."

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