A University Police officer was suspended after allegedly hitting a homeless man several times with a nightstick when he tried to enter the Marvin Center early Wednesday morning.
UPD Director Dolores Stafford would not identify the officer but said he has been suspended while the department investigates the incident.
Several students witnessed the altercation and filed reports with UPD. They said the homeless man tried to enter the ground floor of the Marvin Center at 12:15 a.m. Wednesday. The UPD officer was at the registration desk on the ground floor when the man walked in and stood in the doorway. The two were yelling and arguing at each other, said Dan Calamuci, a junior who was outside the Marvin Center at the time.
Calamuci said the homeless man walked out of the building, and the officer followed him, holding his nightstick. The homeless man began yelling at the officer, and the UPD officer yelled for the homeless man to get back here.
The officer grabbed him by the collar and threw him against the concrete wall, Calamuci said.
Calamuci said the homeless man got up and was struck by the officer behind the legs. When he got up again, he was hit again.
He said the homeless man was lying on the floor with his hands and legs up, and was struck again by the officer. At that time, other UPD officers arrived and restrained both men.
Juniors Seth Weinert and David Metnick witnessed the incident outside J Street while they were postering for Program Board elections. Metnick said the homeless man spoke to him before going to the ground floor of the Marvin Center.
He wasn’t really causing any trouble, Metnick said. He was very harmless.
Weinert said following the incident, the officer tried to make the students leave the Marvin Center area and asked to see his GWorld card.
Honestly, it kinda makes me sick, Weinert said. It makes me think hard about what kind of training and skills UPD officers have, to let this incident occur.
Stafford refused to comment on the investigation or the charges.
The supervisor that was involved initially notified me that he didn’t think the officer’s response was appropriate, Stafford said.