Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | December 9, 2011

Emory University Viral Video: Victim or Villain

There is a video making the rounds today that shows an Emory University student getting arrested in the library. The video is causing quite a stink as people line up on one of two sides in the situation.

Here’s the quick synopsis that comes with the video:

Even with finals approaching Emory University saw it fitting to arrest a graduate student in the library for trying to help keep a homeless woman from being sent outside in the cold rain. Shame on you Emory Police and Emory University.

Clearly, whoever posted the video has a stance that’s pretty anti-police regarding the situation and the poster clearly views the graduate student as a victim in this mess.

When I watched the video, I saw something completely different.

I saw a dude who refused multiple requests from the cops to give ‘em his ID.

I saw a dude that blatantly ignored the officers and tried to walk off.

I saw a dude who decided he was going to start texting and narrating for his friend who was videotaping.

What’s more, the Emory University Facebook page gave a rundown of the situation that pretty much indicates counters the “helping a homeless woman from getting kicked out into the rain” argument.

“Tuesday, December 6 at about 11:30 pm, Emory police officers responded to a call from library staff regarding a woman who was sitting down in the entrance vestibule of the Woodruff Library and appeared to need assistance. As the officers attempted to assess the woman’s condition, they were repeatedly interrupted by a man who said he was a student and demanded to know what they were doing. He refused repeatedly to leave the vestibule and refused to produce an ID, as Emory students are required to do upon request by university officers. The woman in distress was transported to a hospital for medical evaluation. She was not arrested. The student, identified as Joseph Diaz, was arrested for obstructing or hindering law enforcement officers. Emory is still actively gathering information about this incident.”

Now I’ll let y’all peep the video and you can tell me what you think.

Personally, I think the cops were probably rougher than they needed to be with this dude, but all he had to do to put the kibosh on the whole thing was hand over his student ID. Instead he kept “poking the bear” and refused all their requests and walked off.

Call me crazy, but if a couple of cops have me surrounded and they want my student ID, that’s a pretty simple request. I think I’d just go ahead and pass the damn thing over to avoid, well, exactly what happened.

So what do all y’all think?

Is the dude an innocent victim in this situation or did he bring this on himself by ignoring the cops and trying to walk off?

Let me hear it in the comments.



  1. As is most cases, the video does not show or reveal all the details. According to the “run down,” the homeless person was not arrested, but was transported to the hospital. It seems to me that Diaz automatically assumed that she was being “arrested” and was going to muck with the system. If this is the same Joesph Diaz, he was the Occupy Atlanta person who blocked Congressman John Lewis from speaking in public. You make the decision:

    He seems to be an agitator. The sad thing is that with degree he apparently is pursuing, the only thing he’ll be able to do it teach. That means his drivel will be foisted on impressionable minds.


    • It is the same Joesph Diaz. I read up on it all a bit more after I made the post and I completely agree, the dude is totally an agitator who wanted to make some sort of point or statement and he basically pushed the cops into reacting the way they did.


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