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The Dartmouth
June 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Individuals arrested at the May 1 protest share their experiences

Arrested individuals reflect on their experiences being detained during Wednesday’s pro-Palestinian protest.

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On May 1, local and state law enforcement detained more than 90 students, faculty and other individuals at a pro-Palestinian protest on the Green. Individuals were arrested beginning shortly before 9 p.m. on charges of criminal trespass and, for some, resisting arrest.

In an email to the Dartmouth community on May 2, College President Sian Leah Beilock wrote that students were arrested after “declining several opportunities to stage their protest in a manner consistent with Dartmouth’s policies.” The previous day, Provost David Kotz wrote in a campus-wide email that the College “may place limitations on the time, place and manner of any speaker event, protest or demonstration.”

“Students and employees violating local laws may also be subject to law enforcement action based on Hanover ordinances,” Kotz added.

Several arrested people shared their experiences with The Dartmouth.

Dylan Griffith ’25 said he was taking photographs for a SART 30, “Photography II” project to “capture campus life” when he saw history professor Annelise Orleck get “pushed down into the ground” by police officers in front of him. After helping her up, Orleck “went to go tell off an officer for pushing her over,” which he said led to both their arrests.

“They threw her to the ground, and I pointed to the state trooper in front of me to try [to] get his attention to [Orleck’s arrest] going on behind him,” Griffith said. “By that point, I already had a state trooper who had come up behind me and was pushing me into two other state troopers to arrest me.”

Griffith said that not long after his arrest, he witnessed the arrests of The Dartmouth reporters Charlotte Hampton ’26 and Alesandra Gonzales ’27.

“It felt very indiscriminate the way that they arrested me and the two [The Dartmouth] reporters,” Griffith said. “It felt like they saw Professor Orleck get arrested and then just randomly snatched up some people in the immediate vicinity of her, which happened to be me and the two [The] Dartmouth reporters.”

Zachary Shortt ’25 said he was engaging in “peaceful protest” when officers arrested him and took him to the Grafton County Sheriff’s Office. He added that he believes the riot police were “very excessive.”

“I was exhausted, and we didn’t get back [to campus] until 5 a.m.,” Shortt said. “It was a lot of waiting around … while we were cuffed [using] zip ties.”

After the arrests took place, processing took several hours, with those arrested sent to different facilities across the state — including the Grafton County Sheriff’s Office, Hanover Police Department and Lebanon Police Department, according to both Shortt and Grace Caplan ’26, another arrested protester.

The Hanover Police Department was not available for comment by time of publication.

“They didn’t have the capacity to arrest us all at once,” Caplan said. “I was in the police paddy wagon, so I was next to [about] six other girls, [and] then we were transported to [Grafton] an hour away.”

Although processing at the Hanover Police Department was lengthy, it was a simple process, according to Danny Keane GR’24, a member of the Palestine caucus of the Graduate Organized Laborers of Dartmouth-United Electrical Workers.

“We had to wait in a garage … where they had some chairs set up, so we all sat with our wrists still in the zip ties,” Keane said. “I remember a couple people really needed to use the bathroom and could not.”

Keane added that those arrested “waited about an hour” in the garage before the department “took down some information and a mugshot.” Afterward, individuals were led to a lobby where they were given a $40 bail commissioner fee, he said.

According to New Hampshire Department of Safety strategic communications administrator Tyler Dumont, New Hampshire State Police personnel were deployed at the request of local law enforcement and “worked collaboratively to ensure the safety of those participating in First Amendment gatherings and to stop unlawful actions.”

“The members of the New Hampshire State Police are committed to protecting the constitutional rights of the Granite Staters while also ensuring those who violate the law are held accountable,” Dumont wrote in an email statement to The Dartmouth.

However, Griffith said he believes that he was not protected by state troopers.

“[The state troopers] had told us explicitly that we were allowed to be there to cover the protest,” Griffith said. 

According to Keane, some troopers seemed to escalate the situation beyond what was expected of them during the protest.

“They definitely tackled a few people to the ground, and I don’t think that was necessary even just to fulfill their own goals of arresting those particular people,” Keane said. “Several people told me there was a moment where two police charged the crowd, and at least one of them had a smile and a lethal look on their face.”

Andrew Tefft, a Hanover native who graduated from Hanover High School in 1997, said he was not protesting but attempting to walk around the Green when he was arrested with excessive force, which led to a broken upper arm bone.  

Tefft went to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center to check on his injury after he was released from the Hanover Police Department, and he reviewed his paperwork with The Dartmouth.

“I did not see [the police] coming,” Tefft said. “The first thing they did was knock my phone out [of my hand], knock my hat off — I don’t know what they hit me with. I had no way to break my fall, and that’s probably how I fractured my shoulder.” 

Tefft, whose late mother worked at the College for many years, said he has been “shaking with pain and rage” at the actions of police and Beilock.

“Does any of this mean anything, that my mom worked here and I grew up here and that I was not being violent?” Tefft said. “I can’t imagine how she would react to this.”

Tefft added that the Dartmouth Office of Communications told him he was banned from all Dartmouth-owned properties.

Beilock wrote in her email statement that on the night of the arrests, people chose their beliefs over opportunities to avoid arrest.

“Last night, people felt so strongly about their beliefs that they were willing to face disciplinary action and arrest,” she wrote.

She added that “choosing to engage in this way” means “accepting” the “consequences.”

Caplan said she thinks bringing law enforcement onto campuses can have negative effects on free speech.

“I think part of the backlash happening now is a response against the militarization of college campuses, which I think is absurd,” Caplan said. “I really think it sets a dangerous tone for free speech.”