Just after the invasion of Iraq, University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB) Professor Tony Van Der Meer was arrested after defending UMB student Tony Naro’s right to peacefully protest military recruitment. Van Der Meer now faces up to five years in prison. However, the defense has over 12 witnesses who all contradict the official police report, and pressure to drop the charges is mounting. Justice interviewed Tony Naro.
What sparked the April 3 incident?
I was wearing a T-shirt that read “Education not Enlistment” on the front and “Military Recruiters Off My Campus!” on the back.
How were you harassed?
The military recruiters were about 5-6 feet away from me and began to heckle me, calling me a “fucking communist” and other explicit names. They then called the police to verify that I was a student. When that was verified, they wanted me to verify that I had permission to hand out flyers on campus. This has not been the policy at UMass Boston until late.
How did Professor Van Der Meer end up getting arrested?
A recruiter approached me and yelled, “You should get shot in the head, too!” Van Der Meer then yelled to the recruiter that he could not say that to me, or anyone else for that matter.
The recruiter got into Van Der Meer’s face, yelling the phrase he had yelled at myself. The recruiter poked the professor’s left shoulder and the professor yelled, “Don’t touch me!” A police officer then rushed over, and instead of neutralizing the situation, or taking custody of the racist, abusive, aggressive recruiter, the officer pushed and then arrested the professor – seen by the police apparently as an angry black male who needed to be cuffed.
What can people do to help get the charges against Tony Van Der Meer dropped?
They can visit our website and sign our on-line petition and then get others to do the same. They can also write a letter to the DA and demand the charges be dropped. Info: www.bostonmajustice.org