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Silent Sam demonstrator wants to expose “pattern of police abuse” with body cam footage

<p>Ayling and Porlides finish their presentation by telling attendees about their demonstration against police brutality on Wednesday.</p>
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Ayling and Porlides finish their presentation by telling attendees about their demonstration against police brutality on Wednesday.

History graduate student and anti-Silent Sam activist Mark Porlides, who was arrested during a December demonstration, played the police body cam footage during a presentation on Monday in Greenlaw Hall.

Porlides began by explaining the details of his arrest and showing the body cam footage. Then, another anti-Silent Sam advocate, Lindsay Ayling spoke more broadly on the nature of police brutality and pro-Confederate movements.

All of Porlides’ charges stemming from his arrest have been dismissed, but he showed the body cam footage to persuade the audience that his case "reflects a larger pattern of police abuse, a deliberate pattern.”

He said he is not making the video publicly available because his face can be clearly seen.

Porlides was at a rally on December 3, protesting the proposed South Campus building to house Silent Sam – a plan that has since been scrapped. He said a group of officers ran toward him, grabbed him from behind and arrested him immediately. 

He was charged for resisting, delaying or obstructing arrest, assault on a government official and larceny for the alleged attempt to steal a police body cam. 

In the video, officers can be seen moving from Graham Memorial to Silent Sam’s former location, quickly approaching and grabbing Porlides. One officer tells Porlides to let go of his body camera, and Porlides holds his hands above his shoulders and repeatedly says his hands are up. 

“I can say with certainty, in the moment, I pulled away. I didn’t know what was happening, I was kind of scared and pulled away. In that process, it’s possible that I elbowed somebody. It was not deliberate,” Porlides said. “The charge of larceny, attempting to steal a body camera, is absolutely false.”

Porlides said the police who arrested him seemed to be deciding amongst themselves what to charge him with. 

When he and his attorney received the video, Porlides said they were thrilled with what they saw. According to Porlides, they asked to have a trial that day, but the district attorney deferred, saying he had not seen the video yet. 

“The evidence that exonerated me, this video, was deliberately withheld,” Porlides said.

Porlides said his case was dismissed on lack of evidence two days before his trial. He said his lawyer helped him understand that his rights were violated during his arrest. 

“She explained to me why my rights were violated, and that putting my hands on a barricade, or even pushing it, is not an illegal act, and that I had been arrested for zero actual cause,” Porlides said. 

Ayling continued the presentation with more general information about the protesters’ experiences with police officers. She said many of the anti-Silent Sam protesters feel the police routinely side with the pro-Silent Sam protesters who attempt to maintain good relationships with police. 

“They also want to get in the good graces of police departments because they do rely on police to beat up their opponents — the anti-racists and anti-facists — at rallies,” Ayling said.

Porlides, Ayling and other anti-Silent Sam activists are hosting a Students Strike Back Against Racism & Police Violence demonstration at the steps of Wilson Library at 1:30 on April 24. 

@caseyquam

university@dailytarheel.com

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