Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) arrested two Harvard graduate students for disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace following a party in Peabody Terrace early last Sunday morning.
Harvard Business School (HBS) student Tarnas Katona and Kennedy School of Government student Kanwar I. Singh were allegedly among the boisterous crowd of students refusing to leave the recently shut-down party and yelling at police officers.
But no formal charges have yet been lodged against Katona, according to Middlesex District Attorney spokeswoman Emily LaGrassa, because there was not sufficient information in the police report to support the charges.
This, Katona said, proves that his arrest was unjustified.
“The judge says ‘you’re free to go’—his exact words. ‘There was no probable cause found for your arrest,’” said Katona.
Neither of the 29-year-old graduate students were arraigned. But the lack of an immediate arraignment—the hearing following an arrest held to decide charges and court dates—does not preclude future charges.
LaGrassa said the District Attorney’s Office is waiting for police to file a supplemental report in Katona’s case and that an arraignment day of Oct. 24 has been set for Singh. LaGrassa said that it was possible charges would be filed against Katona after that report is filed.
The students spilling out of the party and into the courtyard of Peabody Terrace did not cooperate with police and caused a disturbance, according to HUPD spokesman Steven G. Catalano.
Katona, who was allegedly screaming at police officers, was placed under arrest. According to Catalano, Singh interfered with the arrest by yelling and was arrested after repeated attempts by a police officer to calm him down.
Singh declined to comment for this article and Katona said he had done nothing wrong.
“This guy clearly took out his personal aggression on me,” Katona said.
Katona alleges he was outside smoking a cigarette when police officers moved through the crowd, asking students to disperse. He said that the police officer who arrested him grew irritated after Katona said, “Officer, we are moving.”
“He stepped up to me really aggressively, and said, ‘Move, move, jam the fucking cigarette,’” Katona said. “I said, ‘What the hell. I am moving. Can I not smoke if I am moving?’ I didn’t drop the cigarette, which is what got me arrested.”
He added that during the exchange, the officer moved towards him as if to tackle him after saying, “You want to be a tough guy?”
“I understand that these guys might have been tired, but hey, that’s why you’re a professional,” Katona said. “You don’t let two other parties that you busted affect your stamina or your professionalism.”
Catalano said HUPD rarely arrests students.
“Our officers do not go on patrol looking to arrest students,” Catalano said. “We value and believe in the administrative board and the internal discipline associated with that. But there are times that individuals will force the officers’ hands through their behavior.”
Katona said he plans to file a complaint with the police department against the officer who arrested him.
“I had to miss class, could barely sleep [Monday] night because I didn’t know what the hell was going on,” he said.
“If any member of the community or someone that we arrested feels they were not treated fairly or professionally, we encourage them to make a formal complaint to the department so that the incident can be investigated thoroughly,” Catalano said.
—Staff writer Robin M. Peguero can be reached at email@example.com.