American Experience
Firsthand Accounts Firsthand Accounts
Jean Ponder AllenKeith HackettMike AriasDiane Sikorski KramerJane BrotmanJim RowenJack CipperlyPaul SoglinJoe CostelloClark Welch
BeforeOctober 1967AftermathReflections

Paul Soglin (2:19) video | transcript

Groups of officers were coming in, usually four and five together, picking out one person, working them over, and then somehow that person would disappear and then there'd be more officers with no victim and suddenly I was next. There clearly was not going to be any discussion. This was not a time to negotiate and just in an instant they came at me and grabbed me and I kind of curled up and pulled my jacket as much as I could over my head and then they just proceeded to sort of "whack-a-mole," they just proceeded to alternatively club me. I was doing all right, I was holding my own, and then the jacket came off the base of my spine and somebody just whacked me on the base of the spine and it was interesting, my reflexes took over and all of a sudden my arms and my legs shot out and then they went to work on my exposed limbs and then somebody said, "Have you had enough?"

And they hoisted me up and at that point I'd figured I was about to be escorted out for an arrest and they threw me forward where there was another group of officers and they, in effect, threw me out the door where there were a group of officers in a semicircle and thousands of students around them. Of course we weren't aware of any of this in the corridor, as to what was going on outside, and somebody else just sort of threw me through the semicircle of officers into the crowd and you think of bizarre things at these times and [I thought], "I'm not being arrested. Okay."

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Two Days in October American Experience PBS