Why one CSUN student got angry at policemen

By Ankur Patel
Some of you may have seen the video of me barking down two police officers on May 2 in front of the CSUN Oviatt Library. The YouTube video has over 2,000 views since and I have received both positive and negative feedback for what I said and did.

What I succeeded in doing was getting people to pay attention. The 15 minutes before the interaction with the police is what really should have been taped, but unfortunately people pay more attention when there is confrontation brewing – be it theatrical or real. I am sure some of the students watching were waiting to see if I got beat.

This interaction with the police happened after I had drawn a crowd by talking about the overall state of our society; we need to question the power structures and how they came to be. I was reiterating simple points like, “You are not alone in thinking that tuition is too high! You are not alone in thinking we spend too much money on bombs than on books! You are not alone in thinking that authority should be in the hands of the people!”

Drawing a crowd then leads police to question why have people gathered, which is not necessarily a bad thing; but when so called “authority” thinks they have the right to control people expressing free speech, I have the right, in this country, to be enraged.

I was brash, but I don’t think privileged people understand what the relationship between police and poor-black-and-brown communities really is. I know I don’t understand it being a Northridge-Hospital-born Indian living in Chatsworth for most of my life, while going through the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Magnet programs. However, I do know people support standing up to authority. I am not sure of the size of the crowd that had gathered, but I would dare say that those who were listening to me before the police came, were in support.

It is about challenging authority. Where does authority come from? What is authority used for? Keeping tuition high? Bombing people in other countries?

Last Monday we had a debate for California’s 30th Congressional race. The race for the 30 is going to be the most expensive in U.S. history as both Howard Berman and Brad Sherman have millions of dollars pouring into their respective campaigns. There are actually seven candidates on the ballot, but only four were invited to debate on our campus. Most heinous is the fact that Mike Powelson, former professor at CSUN, wasn’t invited to debate. It might be because his campaign has raised under $3,000 or because he is a third party candidate, but the fact of the matter is that a CSUN professor was excluded from a debate on this campus, even though he will be on the ballot for the June 5 primary.

There were more than a few of us who literally heckled two U.S. Congressmen during the entire debate on April 30 in the Valley Performing Arts Center. If we have the power and ability to criticize sitting U.S. congressmen, why do we cower in fear when police puff out their chest and ask, “What’s the problem here?”

On Tuesday, May Day, I was in Downtown causing a ruckus and pushing the envelope with police in a similar way to what I did on campus in the video that I am now referencing.

On Saturday I was waiting for the bus on Balboa and Nordhoff and saw two LAPD officers giving someone a ticket. They had pulled into the gas station right next to the Matador Bowl and the police car was parked onto the sidewalk. As I was walking passed, I yelled, “Can you please move your vehicle? It is blocking public space.”

That led to a situation. One of the officers put his hands on me, grabbed my neck and put me against a wall after I had said that I did not need to show him my identification or answer any of his questions. He suggested that I might be drunk to justify his actions and assert his monopoly on the use of violence. I stared him down and let the other officer know that the aggression that his partner showed was wrong.

I do believe that there are good cops. In fact, I believe there are more good cops than bad. However, the current relationship between authority and the public needs to be questioned; it is unfortunate that the police have to serve as proxies for the one percent.

The different tactics that we use–be they making noise in the streets, voting, or hunger striking – each has its role in the movement. Some will prove to be more effective than others, but we have got to be trying something. That is why I was yelling on the steps of the Oviatt.


  • randy Martinez

    Well said Ninety-nine. This young man had disrupted study sessions at the USU, and being an employee, I was asked to tell him to take his rants and “preaching” elsewhere. He looked at me and screamed, “FREEDOM OF SPEECH!” While I agree he had his right to speak he had no right to disturb the peace of others. In fact he was being a public nuisance which is where we draw the line on freedom of speech. We offered him some locations to move too, but he chose to yell at me instead. I listened to the words you spoke, and they held no meaning. We all suffer from financial struggles which is why we work at it. We don’t yell at innocent people, we speak to those responsible in a respectable manner and if that doesn’t work we don’t resort to barbaric manners of protest. We live in the year 2012. If we really look into how our government works we can implement change without all these police scandals, and wild protests. 

  • Ankur Patel

    Some of criticisms are more valid than others, I would just like to see some of this directed towards people who are actually making decisions…

  • Michelangelo_L

    Why do it then? 

    I know that they each have quotas on the number of parking tickets they have to turn in to increase city revenue. LAPD denies said quotas existing, but we all know they exist. I’ve never met anyone happy about the parking tickets. They don’t serve any benefit to society. They’re simply roundabout ways of taxing people. 

    If they don’t want to do it, and obviously no driver wants to do it. Why do it? Why enforce rules they know are, for lack of better words, crummy. 

    P.S. Is the comment section working oddly for anyone else? 

  • Michelangelo_L

    Ignore this post.

  • csuncommonsense

    Extraordinary response, Ninety-nine!  Well said!

  • VladLenin

    What a pathetic representation. Sadly, you’ve developed a following of fellow malcontents, who think that you’re “all that.”  You’re not!

    Interestingly enough though, I believe that it is on-campus Marxist Student-Advisers who are putting you out there, to serve their interests. You’re just a “useful idiot”

    I’ve attempted to “engage” you, and your following in the past. You(and your advisers) have quelled my efforts to present your minions, with information “not” pre-approved by your Party bosses.

    BTW, I think, both the campus grounds, and the officer’s motorcycle are both considered Private Property.

  • VladLenin

    Responses to Ankur Patel’s diatribe(s). – PRICELESS!

  • What I saw that day was a student yelling baseless political slogans.  I found myself under my breath stating that several of his comments did not allow for dialogue it was just shout downs.  I really wanted to debate with him, but unlike a competent individual I doubted he could really converse.  So I went into the library and grabbed some books.  Then, I was on the third floor looking down on the the library lawn and saw him with the cops.  I went down and saw the way he treated those peace officers.  It was wrong, he should apologize for the way he treated those peace officers.  I know a few officers they come into my work at times, those people are nice honest citizens who never go around provoking violence.

  • Michelangelo_L

    Everyone else has already said their fill on certain subjects, so instead I’ll bring up something I think we can all agree on.

    Anyone else notice that the police on campus have too great a fascination in handing out parking tickets? I don’t even drive and it gets me angry to see them writing up so many citations. I can justify having someone cited when they’re genuinely bad drivers – which many people are. But parking? It’s simply another way for the city to increase revenue. I would for one prefer simply raising current sales tax in order to end the prosecution of drivers and their cars. 

    At least that’s one of the many small reasons I get angry at police.

    • csuncommonsense

      Michelangelo_L:  I have asked a few police officers this very question as to why they write so many parking tickets when there are parking officers.  Although they say they cannot answer questions like that due to their university policy, it is very apparent that they would rather be doing something else than writing parking tickets.

  • David the small-L libertarian

    So Mr. Patel, please tell us what this hapless officer did in that all-so-important must-see 15 minutes prior to your little tantrum.  You wrote an entire piece ostensibly about why you acted like a raving lunatic but not once do you tell the readers what the officer did to set you off.  You go off on tangents but never address the headline. Methinks you are just a big-time attention-loving jerk.

    Here’s how the author, Mr. Patel, comports himself in the presence of police:

    Here’s Mr. Patel in April tussling with a Santa Monica College cop as he and others attempt to push their way into a board meeting.  And here he is after being pepper-sprayed, like a street-corner preacher telling everyone his take on the violence at the Santa Monica College board meeting.

  • “Grandiose Performances by Hero and Student Savior, Ankur Patel”
    – now playing at Cal State Northridge. I sometimes wonder what’s more important…
    the actual issues or the opportunities they offer you for grandstanding?


    To quote you, “What I succeeded in doing was getting people to
    pay attention.” Pay attention to what? You, you, you. This campus has
    seen you protest, rant, rave, and attack anything or anyone as long as it gives
    you an opportunity to perform your self-crowning monologues and delusional diatribes. You’re
    a smear artist and a self-promoter. Everyone else is apparently evil, corrupt,
    wicked, selfish, fake, rich, and racist – but not you; you’re the people’s


    Your article is titled, “Why one CSUN student got angry at
    policemen.” What it really should be called is, “How one CSUN student brags about
    all his heroic crusades.” We still don’t know why you got angry at policemen,
    but we now know about all your Christ-like adventures. You used the word “I” 28
    times in your article as you take us on this trip through your brave efforts of
    standing up to LAPD even when they got physical; how you were active in
    downtown LA causing a righteous ruckus; how you protested the VPAC debates in
    the name of justice; and so on.


    Well bravo. The person still got a traffic ticket; corporations
    are still operating in downtown; and the completely irrelevant and equally
    nutty Green Party candidate was not only excluded from the debate, he was
    removed from the audience and thrown out of the VPAC. You have accomplished
    nothing beyond making yourself look like an absolute crazy person. You
    constantly destroy your own causes and crush all legitimacy with your constant,
    outrageous behavior.


    You say that you promote freedom of speech and boldly question
    authority? You viciously stomp on all speech that’s not yours because you feel
    you are the authority. To quote you, “There were more than a few of us who
    literally heckled two U.S. Congressmen during the entire debate on April 30…”
    Heckled or harassed? In fact, you assaulted and battered the four candidates’
    freedom of speech with your pathetic outbursts at the VPAC – they apparently
    don’t have a right to speak unless you grant it to them. After all, you are the
    authority on speech.


    In your video, you claim that you were promoting a hunger
    strike, but your video mentions nothing about the hunger strike. However, you
    take the opportunity and attention to mention your name, your student id
    number, and how you were bravely pepper sprayed in Santa Monica. What a hero
    you are. Your ridiculous aggression for passive policemen is only outdone by
    your insane stance on public property. If it’s public property, why can’t the
    cops park their bikes on it? Are you the authority that decides who can be on
    Patel’s property and who must move or go?


    Your article says, “I would dare say that those who were
    listening to me before the police came, were in support.” Your egomaniac
    assumptions could not be more wrong. The rest of us on this campus couldn’t
    disagree more with you, your behavior, and your crazy views. If you stopped
    screaming for a second to hear what all the laughing students in front of the
    library were saying you would have heard lines like, “What’s this idiot trying
    to do? Who the hell is this wacko? I hope they taze him. This guy ought to go
    to class or go home.”


    The actual 99% of students on this campus just want to go to
    class and work. Stop claiming you represent the majority when you and your 20
    crazy friends are the 0.000567% of this campus (21/37,000) – it’s dishonest, insulting,
    and completely pathetic. You accomplished nothing beyond your usual self-indulged


    You wanted those cops to hit you; you want the attention; you
    want so badly to be a martyr, a victim, a statistic, and a celebrity. You’re
    nothing but a self-absorbed creep. You have done nothing to help students or our
    university – in fact, you’ve put a stain on this campus and us as students. The
    99% wants you to shut up and go to class or go home. The same goes for your
    minion “hunger strikers.” What an absolute joke.


    The police harassed you, huh? You harassed them the same way
    that you harass everyone else on this campus. You’re not activist… you’re a
    bully. There’s my freedom of speech – bully that.

    • David the small-L libertarian

      Ninety-nine:  That was spectacular!  A truly entertaining and astute take on Mr. Patel!  This one deserves a place in the Sundial Comments Hall of Fame.

    • This has to be one of the best comments I have ever read. There is no reason for me to comment. You spoke for me with your comment above. Thank You. 

    • Dear Ninety-nine. Clearly, there’s something personal going on here. It seems that you don’t like (personally) the way Mr. Patel is acting. He is an activist, yet you claim that he hasn’t accomplished anything? Yet, you find yourself writing an article, quoting from him, stating how he wants attention ( a misreading of the article by the way)… What do you propose as to act against the Budget-Cuts? What is your solution? Work and go to school? Certainly, you do not provide a good argument against Mr. Patel, parhaps raising the tution is causing low education by cutting logic classes, or semantic classes? Please tell us your solution…

      • Ninety-nine speaks for me. And yes, I see Mr. Patel as an attention grabber. And so do 24 other people apparently. Why should Ninety-nine have to explain to you what his solution is? He didn’t create a scene in the quad and harass the police. He didn’t claim to harass the LAPD. He didn’t harass the cops at Santa Monica. It was Mr. Patel that did all that then wrote and opinion about it. Mr. Patel’s solution is apparently to harass the police. How does that bring a solution to the budget and tuition issues? What is your definition of Activist? You call Patel and activist, but Ninety-nine is the activist too. An activist again people creating scenes for their ego. Sorry we disagree but your argument doesn’t hold up.  

  • where’s the pepper spray when you really need it?