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learnedly read, too; in part, of intellectual rigor
Posted Thursday, October 28, 2010
|Video of Roxbury
Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said yesterday that he is reviewing
video footage that shows at least one police officer punching and kneeing a
16-year-old youth whom police were trying to arrest in Roxbury, following
concerns that the force was excessive.
The video, posted on YouTube, shows police repeatedly using force on the
juvenile while several officers are trying to place handcuffs on him. The arrest
occurred Friday in a lobby at Roxbury Community College. Police could not say
last night if they know who shot the video.
|By Milton J. Valencia,
Davis acknowledged that force was used in the arrest, but said he and an
internal affairs investigation will determine whether it was excessive.
According to police reports, the teenager punched at officers with a closed fist
and kicked one when they attempted to bring him to the ground, and a struggle
“The officers used force; the question is whether it was reasonable and
proper,’’ Davis said. “It’s always troubling when you see police force, but we
need to see what prompted it.’’
Elaine Driscoll, a spokeswoman for Boston police, said that police protocol and
training allows for an appropriate use of force when needed, and that can
include anything from the use of Mace to punching.
“Officers are taught certain tactics to assist them in subduing a suspect when
the suspect is resisting,’’ she said. “It needs to be proportional to the
A lawyer for the teenager could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The teenager, who was not identified because he is a juvenile, was wanted on
outstanding warrants and for escaping Department of Youth Services custody. He
was seen Friday by Boston police and a DYS worker entering the college’s
administration building. An officer told him to stop, and he did, according to
But according to the reports, the teenager resisted when an officer attempted to
place handcuffs on him, and at one point grabbed the handcuffs from the officer.
A struggle ensued, and the teenager was taken to the ground after flailing his
arms and throwing punches, according to police reports.
The video shows several officers pinning the teenager to the ground, while one
is punching and throwing knees into him.
An officer could be heard ordering, “Put your hands behind your back.’’ The
teenager responded, “My hands are behind my back.’’
“Stop resisting,’’ the officer shouted.
A witness shouts, “Yo, they beat up on his back and his ribs and everything.’’
The witness added, “Look at that, his nose is busted because they smacked his
A police officer can also be seen and heard telling a witness to stop
videographing the incident. Another person responded, “It’s a free country.’’
The juvenile was treated for a head laceration at a local hospital and released,
according to police reports. Three of the officers were treated for minor
The teenager was later charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon,
assault and battery on a police officer, and resisting arrest. He was also
charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute after police
allegedly found the drug in his backpack.
Davis said yesterday that he and investigators are reviewing the video, as well
as surveillance footage from Roxbury Community College to determine the sequence
of events. They will then determine whether the force was excessive.
Generally, an officer can use his knee and fists to subdue a suspect who is
fiercely resisting arrest and keeping his hands interlocked and out of sight,
according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of police procedure. The
official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official is not authorized
to speak to the media.
Officers would be justified in striking blows even if that suspect is down
because they would need to make sure he is not holding drugs, a gun, or another
weapon, the official said. A review of the officers’ actions would account for
how much of a threat the suspect posed, the official said.
“The overarching goal is to make the arrest with the least amount of force
possible, so that this guy doesn’t get harmed, so that our people don’t get
harmed,’’ the official said. “But if the guy is offering resistance and it’s
resistance with brute force, you use brute force.’’
Council President Michael P. Ross expressed concern over the videotape last
“I was outraged by what I saw in the video . . . of an unarmed teenager laying
on his stomach, subdued by Boston police officers, while being severely and
repeatedly beaten by one of the officers in what appears to be an unmeasured use
of force,’’ he said in a statement. “I spoke to Commissioner Davis, who pledged
to conduct a full and fair investigation into this incident. I will await the
results of the investigation, as well as his subsequent action.’’
Maria Cramer of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Milton Valencia can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company
Published Thursday, October 28, 2010.
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