An investigation has been launched into the Friday arrest of a Harvard University student who was naked and reportedly on drugs after video allegedly shows an officer punching the man several times. People who were with him told police that Ohene had taken drugs that likely had a hallucinogenic effect.
The clips, sent to authorities by a bystander, sees three Cambridge Police officers and an MTBA Transit Police Officer take down student Selorm Ohene.
Officers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, responded Friday night after receiving seven emergency calls about a man acting erratically, The Washington Post reported. Ohene shots "Help me, Jesus!" while officers hold him on the ground and one punches him.
"The video speaks for itself", the lawyers said. 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.
"Cambridge affirms that Black Lives Matter", he said in a statement, "but it must be true in practice as well".
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The use of police force has caused an outcry in the community around Harvard.
In a statement signed by more than a dozen of its members, witnesses recalled how Ohene called out for help as officers struck him and that he left behind "a pool of blood" on the pavement. Ohene's behavior became aggressive, unreceptive, and intimidating nearly immediately.
The tweeted report makes no mention of the five punches Ohene absorbed, which police later claimed were necessary in order to subdue him. After he was observed clinching both of his fists and started taking steps towards officers attempting to engage with the male, officers made the tactical decision to grab his legs and bring him to the ground, however, the male resisted arrest once on the ground.
Editor's Note: This video contains scenes and explicit language that some may find disturbing.
Bard-while emphasizing that he has not yet conducted "a frame-by-frame review" of video of the arrest-offered a detailed account and a defense of the CPD officers' actions Monday.
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The Harvard Black Law Students Association released a statement criticizing the police. Once on the ground, officers were unable to gain compliance because the male contorted his body in a way that pinned his arms under his body and officers were unable to handcuff him.
"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, according to the Times. Bard did not directly answer a question asking whether charges against the student-which include assault, indecent exposure, and resisting arrest-could be dropped in light of the undergraduate's mental health.
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.
Bard, who is black, said officers are trained to use the least amount of force, along a "continuum" that begins with the officer's arrival. "So the individual is now being evaluated to see if they fit that set of circumstances", he said.
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"A video recorded by an onlooker shows a Cambridge Officer punching the man several times", Cambridge Mayor Marc C. McGovern said in a press release. "Shortly thereafter, firefighters came and cleaned up the blood with bleach and water". Policing in Cambridge is far ahead of many communities across the country, and yet we can always strive to do better. "We have high standards for our police officers in Cambridge".