Lawyer Pepin Tuma, 33, was speaking with friends on Saturday night about his outrage over the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. when he passed a group of D.C. police officers, including Second District Officer J. Culp. The lawyer started to chant “I hate the police” as he walked by and ended up under arrest.
It is a story that is all too familiar to some of us in D.C. I have had no less than a dozen law students over the years who were either detained or charged for objecting to police misconduct or taking pictures of what they viewed as abuse.
Tuma said that he saw the collection of cruisers and remarked to his friend, That’s why I hate the police” before chanting “I hate the police, I hate the police.”
A witness said that an officer, Second District Officer J. Culp, responded by saying “Hey! Hey! Who do you think you’re talking to? Who do you think you are to think you can talk to a police officer like that?”
Tuma says that he immediately cited his first amendment rights but that the officer shoved him against an electric utility box and eventually arrested him. Obviously, this would be a highly abusive arrest if the cause was Tuma simply denouncing officers or chanting anti-police statements. Of course, the arrest is hardly going to improve his view of police.
There is also an allegation that the officer called Tuma “a faggot” — Tuma is reported to be gay in this article.
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