The attack on Arnaz is an attack On ALL CODY STUDENTS
-Drop the charges against Arnaz !
-Fire officer Jason Tonti!
-No more police harassment of Arnaz (or any student) at bus stops or walking to and from school! Stop the policy of treating all large groups of youth as gangs!
-End the police intimidation, threats, searches, arrests and beatings of Cody students and all Detroit youth! We are students, not criminals!
-DPS Police out of Cody now!
-Build the new, youth-led, civil rights/immigrant rights movement to win Cody High School the funding and programs students need and deserve to have an equal, integrated, quality education with same dignity, respect and opportunities of white suburban schools!
On Oct. 23rd at 4pm, Arnaz Colvin, Junior at Cody D.I.T. High School was beaten and arrested at the bus stop on W. Chicago & Faust st. after trying to get his younger brother, Chris, who has epilepsy, to safety during a fight among students.
Arnaz, who was trying to break up the fight when 5 squad cars arrived (from DPD, DPS, Gang-Squad and Wayne County), was singled-out of the group of around 20 of us at the bus stop. Rather than attempt to break up the fight, Police started beating students with night sticks and Arnaz was thrown to the ground by a white DPD cop named Jason Tonti, his knee slamming into Arnaz’s back as he was handcuffed and beaten, even though Arnaz wasn’t struggling.
Tonti, who has a history of violence, was calling Arnaz the N-word as he threw Arnaz in his squad car and drove him to Rouge Park, where he was met by another man, also white, in plain cloths who provided Tonti with a gun. Tonti put the gun to Arnaz’s head and threatened to shoot him and throw him in Rouge River.
Tonti then took Arnaz to jail and held him for 3 days with no access to a lawyer or medical treatment. They refused to tell Arnaz’s mom and sister where he was and police continued to threaten Arnaz until he was finally released and was taken to Henry Ford Urgent Care where he was treated for “Lumbar contusion, chest wall pain, contusion to the chest and back, right ankle and left wrist.” Suffering from chronic pain 3 weeks after Arnaz was attacked, he went to Children’s Hospital of Michigan ER and X-ray showed he had sustained a fracture to his vertebra where Tonti’s knee slammed into his back. Arnaz has also suffered insomnia, flash-backs and anxiety, making leaving the house and going to school a daily battle.
Arnaz is seen as a leader at Cody and was targeted as an attempt to intimidate our optimistic and fighting spirit by making an example of him.
Yet despite this Arnaz was not intimidated, and when he was released he joined the growing group of us who are apart of The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), and told everyone what happened to him, as a victory story, because, despite his bangs and bruises, he had stood up to the cops and won.
But on Nov. 6th at 3:56pm, Arnaz and a group of about 11 of us were waiting at the same bus stop after school again. 11 squad cars (from DPD, DPS and Gang-Squad), pulled up, 21 cops surrounding us, while 3 students (including Arnaz) were searched, even though there was no fight, we were just waiting to catch the bus home. This was caught on video despite the cops trying to delete it from our phones.
We were then told to disperse (even though this is impossible because we need to wait at the bus stop to get home). Arnaz and a group of 4 other students began walking home, the other 6 students further down the street, when 4 of the squad cars, including officer Tonti, began to follow Arnaz, cursing and cracking jokes at him, calling him the N-word.
They expected Arnaz to cower and act afraid, but when he just kept calmly walking, they arrested him again, making up the warrant afterwards, held him for 2 1/2 days and charged him with “resisting, obstructing an assaulting an officer” and forced his family to pay an outrageous $7500 bond.
Arnaz’s hearing is scheduled for this Wednesday, Nov. 27th at 9:00am. We will need to protest outside beforehand, starting at 8:30am, and then pack the courtroom.
When we fight for Arnaz, we are building the movement we started when we went to Washington D.C. By now everybody has heard about the march on Oct. 15th when BAMN’s case to restore affirmative action, minority political rights and win immigrant rights was heard before the U.S. Supreme Court in D.C. Over 80 Cody students went, and those that didn’t go wish they did! In D.C. we led by example, marching in greater numbers than any other school from the Detroit area. All we need to do now is continue what we started, and just ignore all the bad advice we’re going to hear from adults telling us to stop.
On Nov. 19th, as many have already heard, we marched in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan to continue the fight we started in D.C. to restore affirmative action, minority political rights and win immigrant rights. When we were there, we passed resolutions with the support of studetns from Northwestern, Cass and Experiencia to fight together to defend Anraz, win integrated, equal education in our schools, to continue our fight for affirmative action, minority political rights and immigrant rights, and to have each others backs in the city of Detroit in the fight to build a united movement (to be “all for one, and one for all”). Now we will also protest at the court and fill the courtroom at Arnaz’s on Nov. 27th.