Q&A: NYU Protester Arrested
February 6, 2017
Underneath the sirens and metal of police vehicles that oftentimes accompany protests, inside might sit a fellow Violet. While the majority of recent rallies and protests have remained peaceful, there have been occasions when situations have escalated and NYU students were caught in the crossfire.
— Diamond Naga Siu (@diamondnagasiu) February 3, 2017
Steinhardt sophomore Zane Kerr was arrested at a rally on Jan. 24 responding to President Donald Trump’s executive order that will facilitate the revival of the Dakota Access Pipeline. After the rally, some protesters began marching uptown and it was during this trek, he was arrested.
Washington Square News sat down with Kerr to discuss the situation that led to his arrest and his subsequent experience of being detained at a rally.
Washington Square News: What happened at the protest before you got arrested?
Zane Kerr: There was the rally at the park and the march, which started moving uptown. The whole time, the cops were riding on mopeds trying to keep us on the sidewalk, and then I think it was on 54th Street when the front of the march turned onto the street, and we followed. We were doing one of the chants — the “Whose streets? Our streets” chant — and I remember some people shouting “Whose streets?” That was when the cop started arresting people.
WSN: Could you describe what happened when you were arrested?
ZK: I remember getting pushed a little bit by one of the cops, and I tried to ignore him and keep walking. At that point I remember him calling me and pushing me off, and two cops tried to grab me, and five others were arrested. Then they took us to central holding in Chinatown to process us and kept us in a holding cell for a while. I got released later that night with a violation — a little worse than a ticket — but not that bad. It won’t go on my permanent record or anything.
WSN: What advice do you have for fellow Violets if they’re arrested during a protest or rally?
ZK: Through my experience, the best advice is definitely just to stay calm and recognize that you are probably going to get out at the end of the night. The cops, when I got picked up, they take you to the holding cell and keep you there for a really long time when they go through your entire record. Their goal is to keep you overnight if they can — so they try to find unpaid tickets — and if they find anything like that, they’ll keep you overnight. If they don’t find anything like that, then they just let you out. I waited for two hours at least in there with the other guys, but for the most part you’re fine. Just stay calm and it’s going to be a process, but it’s not that bad.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 6 print edition. Email Herman Lee at [email protected]