Two detained City College student protesters released amidst troubling allegations

David Pippenger paces down a hallway at county jail, on the phone with his detained son, Otto Pippenger, 20, who was taken into custody as a protester at City College.
Photo by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Two City College student protesters, Otto Pippenger, 20, and Dimitrious Philliou, 21, were released from county jail this morning following a City College protest yesterday which became suddenly violent. But new details emerging from the protest raise concerns about City College administrators and their behavior towards the protesters. 

The students made it out this morning (Fri/14), before sunrise. Philliou was issued a citation and released shortly after 2am, and Pippenger made bail and was released at 6am, according to the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department.

The clash came after a peaceful protest began at City College’s main campus, in an open space designated by college officials as a “free speech zone.” Nearby was an administrative office building, Conlan Hall, where students also register for classes. When the students tried to enter this public building they were met by resistance from campus police and SFPD.  

Pippenger, who was at the front of the protest, was dragged to the ground by multiple officers and allegedly punched in the head by SFPD, which can be seen on multiple videos from the incident and recalled in eyewitness accounts.

Police Attack CCSF Student Protesters 13 Mar 2014 from Peter Menchini on Vimeo.

Video shows police throwing a punch towards Pippenger at just past the 1 minute mark. Though the video does not show Pippenger, witnesses have confirmed the punch landed on the back of his head, knocking his forehead to the concrete.

Afterwards he was carried into Conlan Hall and up the stairs. This is where the video stops, but one eyewitness was upstairs to see what happened next, and her allegations are troubling.

“I saw the police dragging him upstairs in front of my office,” Karen Saginor, an ex-Academic Senate President and current City College librarian, told the Bay Guardian. “They asked me to close my door, and I didn’t. [Pippenger] asked me to call his mother. But [Vice Chancellor] Faye Naples said ‘don’t make that call, it’ll make things worse.’ I didn’t listen. I pulled out my cell phone and called his mother.”

Naples told Pippenger, “you’ll get your one phone call,” Saginor said.

The officers then took Pippenger into one of the administrator’s offices at Naples’ request. 

“His glasses were damaged and he was missing a shoe. It was all surreal,” Saginor said.

The Guardian left a message with Naples’ office, but had not heard back before press time.

In the end, Philliou was charged with misdemeanor ‘returning to school,’ which was described as trespassing by the Sheriff’s Department. Pippenger was charged with two misdemeanors: resisting arrest and battery on emergency personnel, with bail set at $23,000.

Pippenger will face arraignment Wednesday, he told the Guardian. 

The college’s faculty union, AFT 2121, raised an unspecified amount of money towards bail on his behalf. AFT 2121 President Alisa Messer said it was the “right thing to do.” But even with his bail posted by 10:30pm, Pippenger had a long time to wait. 

“Every half hour they slammed the night stick on the wall, and they moved me until the sun came up,” he said. 

David Pippenger and Heidi Alletzhauser, his parents, tried to retrieve him from county jail shortly after his bail was posted. Alletzhauser sat against the wall in the lobby, stoic, as David Pippenger asked the Sheriff’s Department again and again why his son was being held despite posting bail.

At one point he was able to reach his son on the phone. “Stay calm, keep cool,” he told him, as his son chafed against his jailors. 

Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Kathy Gorwood told the Guardian he was held because his background check hadn’t cleared until 5:30am. He was released shortly after.

The elder Pippenger expressed frustration the peaceful protest was met with such forceful resistance. “It’s disappointing,” he said. “It didn’t have to escalate into that.”

Otto’s mother recalled seeing the video of her son held by police and punched in the back of the head, which protesters at City College showed her shortly after her son was taken into custody. “There seemed to be no procedure,” she said. “I was so upset.”

Shortly after the protest, City College Chancellor Arthur Q. Tyler spoke to a crowd of faculty and students at the school’s Chinatown campus. The meeting was about the educational master plan for the school, but talk quickly turned to the protest. 

Alisa Messer, faculty union president, asked Tyler why the students met resistance from campus police in the first place.

“I know the police chief had to respond for safety and security reasons,” he said. When questioned on the existence of “free speech zones,” he said “we will have a discussion in the future about expanding the area for civil discourse.” 

“People have free speech rights, and I support that, but I’m not the reason he is in jail,”  he told the Guardian. 

Saginor, who was nearby, said to Tyler “I hope you’ll not go home and get a good night sleep while a student is in jail?” When we asked if he would visit Pippenger as a gesture of goodwill while in custody Tyler simply replied “No, I’m not.”

Pippenger attended the rally for extra credit points in his Labor Studies class, he said. He’s taking four classes at City College right now, and is an intern at the AFT 2121, the school’s faculty union. 

The protest was a call for the resignation of the school’s state-appointed special trustee, Dr. Robert Agrella. The changes Agrella is making at City College in the name of saving it are controversial at the school, which many view as narrowing its mission to focus younger students seeking to transfer to four year schools.

Left out are those seeking vocations, those seeking short term skills like learning a language or a piece of computer software, and older students who struggle to complete college on time. Their class choices are narrowing and statewide their opportunities for education are dwindling.

About ten protesters spent the night in Conlan Hall, the site of the protest, and peacefully departed in the morning. Their protest will continue today at City Hall. Supervisor David Campos is holding a hearing afterwards on the restoration of the elected City College board of trustees. He also was at the protest.

“What I understood was that students outside simply wanted to go in there and peacefully demonstrate,” he said. “How this was handled show there is a real disconnect between the administration and student body.”

As for Pippenger, he’ll be at the demonstration at City Hall as well. He said he’s proud to defend City College’s mission to serve not just transfer students, but all students. 

“Class mobility is the great fiction of America you know? The only place I’ve seen anything like class mobility is City College,” Pippenger said. 

That’s why he fights. “You see a lot of people turn their lives around.”

A rally to remove Special Trustee Dr. Robert Agrella and reinstate the elected board of trustees was slated to begin today at City Hall at 12:30pm. A special hearing on the matter called for by Supervisor David Campos is scheduled shortly after. 


You do not appear to have covered their crimes at all - only smear attempts to discredit law enforcement.

Just two arrests at an aggressive and rowdy protest actually shows great restraint.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 14, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

Wrong. One of the most common police tactics is to make up extreme charges, especially if someone is arrested on a Thursday or Friday. This elevates their bail and ensures they won't get out (especially enticing if they were part of an ongoing political protest that they would like to return to). When they finally see a judge (usually not until the next week), the larger charges are dropped or reduced, often to misdemeanors that would have allowed them to be cited and released if they had been charged with them in the first place.

Also $23,000 bail does not make it sound serious. That's pretty low for what they're suggesting he did (assault and resisting).

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 5:50 am

get back under any circumstance. So even if the charge is dropped, he is out of pocket by that amount. Should be a good lesson in reality for this kid.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 6:49 am

That we live in a police state?

Posted by Greg on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 1:41 pm

where he could do no harm? Resisting arrest is a serious crime.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 1:57 pm

It's one of those bullshit charges they pile on. THe system is notorious for piling on charges out of thin air.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 3:59 pm

be arrested for resisting arrest. But anything less than full co-operation can be interpreted that way.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 4:14 pm

Progressives are always enacting new idiotic laws to harass the citizens with.

Posted by guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 2:07 pm

rant, did you?

If so, you must be new here.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 2:26 pm

I am more familiar with Greg's race theory.

Posted by guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 2:52 pm

who stop the losers and failures from stealing the fruits of your success.

If you are a loser, then you hate cops, because the cops stop you from stealing from the winners.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

America love it or leave it!

Success! Envy! Free market!

Don't all pile on at once with the empty cliches now...

Posted by Greg on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 4:01 pm

Here are some doozies:

"Social justice"

"Economic justice"

(both code for confiscating from others"

"People of color" (Yuk)

"CISgendered" (someone who isn't a tranny)

In fact, the entire gamut of political correctness is progressive-speak.

Loving failure and hating success always leaves you open to ridicule.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 4:17 pm

No one can find a "right" like a progressive.

Progressive use of language has destroyed word meanings. All of their buzz words have lost any meaning to the majority of citizens, since this is all learned speech to progressives they are only shouting to each other, while the majority dismiss them.

Posted by guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 6:14 pm

coherent meaning when used this way. You cannot, for instance, oppose every new development for homes and jobs and call yourself progressive.

SF Progressives are actually "Regressives". They want nothing to change.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 9:58 am

Watching the video, it doesn't look like the protesters were protesting peacefully at all. If I were a student of CCSF, I'd be looking to matriculate elsewhere. That mismanaged place is dying on the vine.

Seems like the institution became a vehicle for aspiring politicians to gain a stepping stone. E.g., what experience did Rafael Mandelman have that made him an appropriate trustee?

And when that parcel tax measure passed and teachers came out and said they thought they would be getting raises because they helped campaign for it, that just showed how dysfunctional the place is.

Posted by The Commish on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 11:10 am

a selfish view of a windfall which, ironically, couldn't save CCSF anyway.

CCSF exists as an incubator of self-important mediocer ideologs and as an employer of last resort for the otherwise unemployable.

July cannot come soon enough.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 11:40 am

These people need to find a way to be a part of the solution, rather than the conflict.

Everyone is very uptight these days. There are bigger fish to fry, much bigger fish.

It takes a clear head and maturity to pick the right battles. This was not one of them.

Picky stuff to become violent over.

Posted by Guest William on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

resist an officer. Just raising your hands to a cop can be a felony and then - goodbye career.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

Nobody was violent except the pigs, and if saving public education isn't worth fighting over, I don't know what is.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 7:00 pm
Posted by guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 10:34 pm

from running amok?

Posted by Greg on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 10:39 pm

I understand that you consider someone telling social justice activist to stop is violence and all.

Posted by guest on Mar. 16, 2014 @ 1:08 am

Did YOU watch the video? At 0:11 they started by viciously grabbing a female student by the neck and hurled her to the ground. You can see her visibly distressed at 0:37. Later, you see the cops repeatedly punching and shoving students, and employing dangerous police headlocks that have been known to kill.

"Telling them to stop?" Are you fucking kidding me? If you can watch that video and not have a physical reaction of distress just from seeing the actions of these armed THUGS beating unarmed protesters, then you are a bastard with no heart and no soul.

And you wonder why people call them pigs.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 16, 2014 @ 7:56 am

Of course that's what you see, Greg, because you are pre-disposed to judge the cops as using excessive force.

But here's the thing - force is the only thing the cops have if a person won't obey the rules or their instructions. That is why we give them guns, sticks and spray - so they can force people to do what they otherwise won't do.

That is why it is called a police FORCE.

I watched the same video and thought the cops used the minimum of reasonable force to solve the problem.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 16, 2014 @ 8:18 am

in a similar situation. Unfortunately... we have to go to, yes, Venezuela to see it. I was reading Caracas Chronicles the other day. It's a right wing opposition blog, but I like to get all sides. So there was this oppo lawmaker named Maria Corina Machado trying to get on a plane, and the local Chavista welcoming committee showed up to protest. If you think the CCSF students were pissed, then you haven't seen PISSED. The folks in this town looked like they were ready to string her up, and frankly I sympathize with their sentiments because I know who MCM is. She's Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and Ann Coulter all rolled up into one.

But it's not the job of the police to takes sides. They need to keep order, diffuse these situations, and if it's impossible to defuse them like it was with this crowd, then at least find a way for this so-called "public official" to do her business without anyone getting hurt.

Note that this is the Maduro's government's national police force (not to be confused with often-corrupt local cops), and MCM is about as vile an oppo figure as you can imagine. Most of the police are definitely not on her "side." But they somehow found a way to make their way through the angry crowd of protesters, skillfully formed a protective ring around her, and actually got her and her entourage *through* the crowd of angry protesters (not just kept them away, but worked their way through!), and managed to do it without brutalizing anyone or getting anyone hurt or arrested. And they do this even though MCM herself is taking on an aggressive and confrontational posture! You can see the video here:

As you can see from the comments, the blog extremely sympathetic to her and not the protesters, but snide remarks aside, even some of the commentators grudgingly admit that the civil guard did a really good job.

This, folks, is how a professional police force behaves. This is how it's done in a democracy.

By contrast, the treatment of the protesters in the CCSF video, was an example of a gang of thugs using gratuitous violence, acting out their power-tripping fantasies.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 16, 2014 @ 9:36 am

cite a basket-case banana republic as a poster child.

Do you never learn?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 16, 2014 @ 10:12 am

in this country you call a "basket case banana republic" actually behaves professionally, unlike the armed thugs in this country who beat up peaceful protesters.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 16, 2014 @ 10:19 am

Nobody in their right mind would switch places and subject themselves to living there over here.

Are there 15 million Americans illegally living in Venezuela?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 16, 2014 @ 10:26 am

illegally living in America either. That's certainly news to me. I do know there about 4 million Colombians illegally living in Venezuela, fleeing the capitalist utopia next door. Well actually most of them have been legalized under Chavez, so technically they're not illegal.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 16, 2014 @ 10:42 am

We're discussing the US here because that is where we all live - even you who claims to hate it here and yet never gets around to emigrating.

Too much liberty? Is that our problem?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 16, 2014 @ 10:53 am

commentary. It makes you into a Greg-like cop-hater whose opinions are therefore valueless.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 16, 2014 @ 5:35 am

Not to condone or condemn the use of the term, but just to offer an observation... Whether you agree or disagree with the use of the term to describe our police, it's interesting that when someone refers to "pigs," everyone knows what "profession" we're talking about. There is no other profession that I can think of, which has associated with it, such a derogatory term. Not even lawyers or politicians. Agree or disagree, the fact that the term is so common and so universally recognizable, should tell you something in and of itself.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 16, 2014 @ 7:40 am

does not mean that it is helpful to say it and, if you do, you cannot expect credibility.

Likewise with terms like fags, spics, slant-eyes and pigs, all of which are readily understood..

Posted by Guest on Mar. 16, 2014 @ 8:01 am

but I can't think of another profession that inspires this much animosity from so many people.

The problem is that in certain communities, the police behave more like an occupying army than public servants who are supposed to protect you. That's why community relations are so poor and you see all that animosity.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 16, 2014 @ 9:05 am

"inspires animosity" but that's because of your anti-cop bias. I can think of many professions which I hold in lower regard than cops e.g.

1) Politicians
2) Lawyers, especially ambulance chasers.
3) Activists, advocates and lobbyists
4) Much of the press

The point stands. The fact that a derogatory word exists for a class of people does not mean that there is anything inherently wrong with that class of people.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 9:56 am

derogatory slang associated with it? Don't think so. I can't think of any for the professions you listed above.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 10:17 am

"parasites" used to describe classes of workers. The animal metaphor appears overdone.

Is this really the best argument you have?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 10:34 am
Posted by Greg on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 4:31 pm

leaping so aggressively to defend someone who used a slur against a class of people?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 5:04 pm


It's never a good idea to let an unpredictable person as close as those cops were letting those people get.

Posted by guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 2:12 pm

"Pippenger attended the rally for extra credit points in his Labor Studies class, he said. He’s taking four classes at City College right now, and is an intern at the AFT 2121, the school’s faculty union. "

Why are people getting credit for going to a protest? Would a student get credit for going to a protest that was advocating for an end to unions?

Posted by guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 2:16 pm

CCSF is more corrupt than I thought if they reward students for protesting and punish students for just quietly getting on with their studies.

Another reason to close CCSF down, as if we needed one.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 2:27 pm

This whole after the due date complaining by the people who were running it is a bit much. I hope it marches on, not as a stepping stone for useless and inept progressive politicians, but as a higher learning institution serving the city.

I was just wondering here, are these studies classes really of any use? If you get credit for going to a protest it seems more like indoctrination, thats not of much use to anyone. I suspect the guy who went to the protest has a long bitter life if he sticks to the things he learns in studies class. Like Greg.

Posted by guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 2:51 pm

He's not unintelligent, but over-educated and politically brainwashed.

Such a waste.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 3:35 pm

I had no idea this Greg person was such a celebrity.

Next we'll hear how he spent the weekend holed up with Jared Leto.

Posted by Orfamay Quest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 4:10 pm

Mostly he is just someone who trolls this website trying to discredit the progressive movement by parodying its worst excesses and pretending to be serious about it.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 4:32 pm

March 15, 2014

Steven T. Jones
San Francisco Bay Guardian
225 Bush Street, 17th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104

Dear Mr. Jones,

I have reason to believe that on March 4, a Sunshine advocate and open-government wizard contacted the Bay Guardian requesting that you include in your planned FOIA issue, an article focusing on Allen Grossman’s lawsuit against the Ethics Commission that is languishing in the Appellate Court. One way or another, the case may turn out to set precedents in the City affecting the public’s right to know what our government is doing in our names, and the level of secrecy the City seeks to preserve. Depending on the outcome at the Appellate level, this case may have the potential of reaching California’s Supreme Court.

So I was shocked to learn that on March 10, that you had responded to a request for coverage that the Guardian would not “get into this lawsuit at this time. It's just way too narrow and wonky to devote a whole story to, and frankly I think you'll have a hard time convincing a judge that the Sunshine Ordinance trumps attorney-client privilege.”

Really, Mr. Jones: It could end up reaching the Supreme Court, but is “too wonky” to devote a whole story to? Jeesh! Did you bother reading the final brief filed by Grossman’s lawyer, Michael Ng, who asserts no attorney-client privilege ever attached to the records Grossman sought, and so of course, the Sunshine Ordinance takes over? While the City Attorney wails about this “trumping” issue, the issue falls apart on close examination. Which examination you think is “too wonky”?

Then, I was surprised to see that when the Guardian hit news racks on Wednesday, March 10, that the best Rebecca Bowe and Brian McMahon could work into their “Glimmers of Sunshine” article on page 9 of the Guardian, was a single 20-word clause alluding to Grossman’s case [“… plus a lawsuit revolving around the city’s refusal disclose [sic: to disclose] how the City Attorney’s Office advises agencies on Sunshine Ordinance interpretations, …”].

Legal briefs filed by both sides to date in Court records number at least 275 pages. And all Ms. Bowe could devote were just 20 words to describe Grossman’s case? After she acknowledged in her introduction that the act of standing up to defend FOI can be rather unglamorous, and sometimes lead to grueling lawsuits? Grossman’s case is a prime example of a grueling lawsuit to defend San Francisco’s local FOI protections via the Sunshine Ordinance. And you conclude his lawsuit is merely “wonky”?

Knowing in advance of the Guardian’s demurral to report (however extensively or not) on Grossman’s case in your annual FOI issue, I was stunned turning to Wednesday’s San Francisco Chronicle the same day the Guardian hit news racks. The Chronicle’s Bob Egelko published a several-hundred-word article describing Grossman’s case in the Appellate Court.

How could the Chronicle have scooped the Guardian reporting on Grossman’s case?

As another prominent open government advocate noted yesterday, it’s ironic that we’ve reached the point where the Chronicle does a fairly major story reporting on a [very major] Sunshine issue, while the Bay Guardian does not.

“Progressives” being scooped by “moderate” conservatives is all too telling.

For that matter, Tim Redmond reported on his new web site last week that City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s new spokesperson, Gabriel Zitrin, claimed that San Francisco’s city attorney would be the only lawyer in the State “who [would have] to abide by a restriction that no other lawyer faces.” Redmond also didn’t do his fact-checking, since it turns out Zitrin is wrong. Both Milpitas and Vallejo have similar local Sunshine law restrictions that other City Attorney’s are already facing. And the sky hasn’t fallen in either jurisdiction.

Just how far has journalism fallen that the Guardian’s annual FOI issue mentions just 20 words about Grossman’s case, and is scooped by the Chronicle?

May I suggest that you read my article, “Sandbagging, Legal Fairy Dust, and Double-Speak” available on my web site ? I admit it’s long reading, but it summarizes about 275 to 325 pages of legal briefs and the relevant law. Hopefully, there’s a nugget or two in my article that may help convince you Grossman’s case is not at all “wonky.” His case involves whether all San Franciscans, including the Guardian, will be able to rely on the Sunshine Ordinance if he prevails.

And if he doesn’t prevail, whether that will grant the City free license to gut multiple, entire sections of the Sunshine Ordinance, and gut your ability to obtain records under the Sunshine Ordinance. This isn’t about “wonky.” This is about the very survival of the Sunshine Ordinance.

Patrick Monette-Shaw
Westside Observer Newspaper
Recipient of 2012 SPJ-NorCal James Madison Freedom of Information Award, Advocacy Category

Posted by MPetrelis on Mar. 16, 2014 @ 9:50 am

It is about making peace with The City Family.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 3:45 pm

"get back under any circumstance. So even if the charge is dropped, he is out of pocket by that amount. Should be a good lesson in reality for this kid."

I offer you a lesson in reality. Specifically the dialect would involve what I would call rudimentary execution.

If you'd like to post your favorite white male capitalist milieu (Cf. watering hole, bar, rest., coffee shop), I can then present you with my dialect.

In the meantime, white male sock puppets (et alia) ;

time to die.

Posted by Guest@1 (that's the #1 post, the 1st post in this thread) on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

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