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NAACP asks Genshaft to look into arrests

Sophomore Lateefa Morehouse is an amateur photographer.On Nov. 2, she had the exciting opportunity of documenting about 100 Haitian immigration crisis protesters across from the Sun Dome on Alumni Drive.

But while standing on Alumni Drive to improve her angle, Morehouse was ordered by a Hillsborough County Sherriff’s deputy to stop what she was doing and to get off the street. As she began to leave the street, Morehouse was handcuffed, “slammed” into a nearby police car and arrested.

Fellow sophomore Melissa Lormine was also among the protesters. She decided, after a period of time, that she wanted to leave. As she walked away from the protest area, a policeman approached her and told her to stop. Lormine told the officer that she was no longer involved in the protest, but was ordered to stop for a second time. Lormine again told the officer she was not involved, after which point she was arrested.

That, according to a letter from Dara McCoy, president for the USF chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is how events during the protest of President George W. Bush’s visit to USF occurred. McCoy sent the letter of displeasure today to USF President Judy Genshaft. The letter said the NAACP is unhappy with the treatment of the students.

“The USF Chapter of the NAACP feels that these students’ rights were violated by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department,” the letter said. “It is our understanding that neither student was informed of their Miranda Rights. Ms. Lormine was only informed of what she was charged with after her incarceration.”

In the letter, McCoy called for Genshaft to investigate the “blatant violation of these students’ basic civil rights.”

McCoy said she desires a meeting to discuss the issue with Genshaft.

Media relations coordinator Marsha Strickhouser said Genshaft was in Tallahassee Tuesday, and therefore not yet aware of the letter.