DEKALB COUNTY, Ga.,None - An Emory University was arrested last week after defending a homeless woman in the school’s library. Cellphone footage of his arrest has gone viral on the Internet.
The confrontation took place inside Woodruff Library, where dozens of students were studying for finals. Campus police showed up to remove an allegedly intoxicated homeless woman from the building. But police turned their attention to graduate student Joe Diaz when he tried to intervene, saying the woman was his friend.
When police asked Diaz for his student ID, he repeatedly refused. He began shouting as officers restrained him with handcuffs.
“My arm is going numb. Do you see how big my book bag is?” Diaz said.
The video, shot by a bystander, has more than 60,000 hits on YouTube. Students had mixed reactions to the arrest.
"Everyone knows that if a police officer asks for your ID, then you need to show it. You should expect that there should be some consequences," freshman Spencer Fogelman told Channel 2’s Aaron Diamant outside the library Tuesday.
But some student said campus police went too far.
"What's wrong with him going to see how she's doing? He says he personally knows her. I don't think he's lying about that," Jacqueline Schaffer said. "I think it's an abuse of authority, honestly."
The school sent a statement saying in part, “The student was arrested for obstructing or hindering law enforcement officers as they assisted the woman and assessed her medical needs."
The woman, who wasn’t arrested, was taken to a nearby hospital.
The incident wasn’t the first time Diaz has made headlines. He can be seen in another cellphone video shot by a blogger at an October Occupy Atlanta rally in downtown. He helped stop Rep. John Lewis from speaking to the group.