Monday, 10 December, 2018

Video Shows Police Tackling, Punching Naked Black Harvard Student

One officer punched the math major in the stomach five times to get him to stop resisting One officer punched the math major in the stomach five times to get him to stop resisting
Ellis Copeland | 17 April, 2018, 23:08

Speaking to reporters Monday afternoon, Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville G. Bard Jr. defended the officers, saying that trying to constrain someone against their will is always hard.

A woman called 911 saying a man had thrown his clothes in her face. About six other calls were received for a male who was "reportedly completely naked", Bard said.

The police arrived at 9:09 p.m.at Massachusetts Avenue and Waterhouse Street, along Cambridge Common in Harvard Square. About 30 bystanders witnessed the spectacle.

"Numerous attempts were made by the officers to calm down the male but they were met with opposition and hositlity".

Witnesses recorded the incident as police say they spent several minutes trying to talk to the Harvard student, 21 year old Selorm Ohene.

'I perceived this as a threat and thought an attack was imminent, ' wrote the cop. The third officer helps pin Ohene to the ground. Ohene absolutely could not be reasoned with'.

Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern, a Democrat, said that an internal investigation is now taking place regarding the behavior of the police officers, according to The Boston Globe.

Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville Bard said on Monday that the officers made multiple attempts to calm down Ohene and that the mathematics student had his fists clenched when he approached the officers before the takedown. Following the altercation with police and his arrest, Ohene was taken to the hospital. A police report stated that Ohene was punched five times in the stomach.

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He was then taken to a local hospital for an evaluation. He was charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, assault, resisting arrest and assault and battery on ambulance personnel.

Because use of force was required in order to gain compliance from Ohene to avoid further injury to himself, the responding officers or any on-lookers, an internal review will be conducted by the department's leadership and Professional Standards Unit, per policy of the department.

The Boston Globe reports that the Cambridge Police Department last updated their use of force policy in 2011.

The statement included a list of demands; among them, a demand for the Cambridge Police Department to hold the officers involved accountable and another for Harvard to create an "internal crisis response team" that would be unaffiliated with the Cambridge police.

Bard explained that after Ohene was brought down, he "contorted his body" in a way that pinned his arms beneath his body, thus making it impossible for the officers to handcuff him.

Harvard Black Law Students Association later released a statement condemning the treatment of Ohene, claiming that officers "lunged" at Ohene "without provocation" while a "pool of blood" remained on the pavement after Ohene was carried away from the scene in an ambulance. A naked, unarmed Black man, stood still on the median at the center of Massachusetts Avenue across from Harvard-Epworth United Methodist Church. The arrest was videotaped and one officer is seen delivering blows to Ohene while he was being restrained by other officers, critics of the police contend.

McGovern has called for an investigation into the incident.

"Cambridge affirms that Black lives matter, but it must be true in practice as well", Mayor Marc C. McGovern said in a statement Sunday morning.

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