Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Mayor calls video of officer punching man 'disturbing'

Police said Ohene refused to comply with their commands and acted in an aggressive manner which prompted them to take him down Police said Ohene refused to comply with their commands and acted in an aggressive manner which prompted them to take him down
Bennie Garza | 17 April, 2018, 16:24

Police claim that the use of force was warranted to arrest Selorm Ohene, 21, who they say was aggressive and high on drugs at the time, The New York Times reported. He came at them, the police said, with clenched fists.

A video of the incident was released Sunday amid outcry regarding the officers' conduct. Ohene could be heard crying out at that point.

The video shows three Cambridge Police officers and one MBTA Transit Police officer pinning Ohene to the pavement.

"We demand that the officers who assaulted this man while he was naked, fully subdued and bleeding on the ground be investigated and held accountable", the group said in a statement. Faust called the video "profoundly disturbing" in an email sent to University affiliates Monday.

Cambridge Mayor Marc C. McGovern called video footage of the incident "disturbing", and vowed to publicly release the findings of the probe.

The Cambridge Police Department tweeted about the incident on Saturday morning, but didn't note that any misconduct or violence had occurred while the arrest was being conducted. "When confrontations can not be averted and include the use of physical force, we must be willing to review our actions to ensure that our police officers are proving the highest level of safety for all". As we previously noted, use of force was required in order to effectuate the male's arrest. Following the altercation with police and his arrest, Ohene was taken to the hospital.

Currently, the 21-year-old faces charges of indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, assault, resisting arrest, and assault and battery on an ambulance personnel. He is still undergoing mental health examinations and has yet to be arraigned. I strongly believe that policing in Cambridge is not about arrests, but about helping people and working to get them the assistance they need.

The lawyers said it had been a trying ordeal for their client and his family, and they asked the public and the media to respect his privacy. In a rapidly-evolving situation, as this was, the officers primary objective is to neutralize an incident to ensure the safety of the involved party (ies), officers and members of the public. "The video speaks for itself".

Idowu said all police departments should have body camera programs - and Cambridge does not. Warnick said that the internal investigation would focus on the tackling of Ohene from behind and the punches that were thrown.

Ohene, apparently under the effects of drugs, was standing naked in the middle of Massachusetts Avenue. We'll continue to review and refine our protocols, policies and trainings as appropriate to ensure we are most effectively, sensitively and safely handling incidents to uphold the highest degree of professionalism and standard of service our community expects from its police department.

Bard said officers had difficulty in getting one of Ohene's arms from underneath his body to be able to handcuff him. "Ohene absolutely could not be reasoned with". One officer strikes him multiple times as he is down. Police shackled his ankles before putting him 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 group's statement said.

McGovern, the mayor, said policing in this progressive city was "far ahead of many communities in the country".


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