A video taken in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been called "disturbing" by the mayor for showing a violent encounter between a police officer and an unarmed, naked Black Harvard University student. The mayor of Cambridge, Marc McGovern, expressed similar criticism. McGovern says "Cambridge affirms that Black Lives Matter, but it must be true in practice as well". Cambridge police are set to hold a media availability on the arrest Monday, and McGovern said the public will be informed of "any and all developments".
"If anyone ever had to constrain an individual against their will, " Bard added, "they will know it's a very hard thing to do". The primary concern I've addressed this morning focuses on punches (five in total) issued by one of the involved officers after the suspect was on the ground.
"You have to judge their actions within the context of a rapidly evolving situation and not with [an] 'ideal construct, '" he said.
As for the take-down, police claim Ohene "resisted arrest once on the ground".
The Harvard Black Law Students Association published a harshly critical evaluation of the arrest on Saturday, noting that some of its members had seen the arrest and detailed it as "a brutal instance of police violence".
Drew Faust, the president of the university, said that although she does not yet know all the facts, the incident is "profoundly disturbing". "A Harvard student was in obvious distress, and we need to understand how that came to be and whether we could have interceded earlier and more effectively". The department conducts training to equip officers to handle all incidents in a professional manner to ensure the safety of the public and our officers at all times.
Bard, who started as commissioner in August, said officers are trained to use the "least amount of force necessary, " by first engaging verbally, then moving up what he calls a "force continuum, " which includes verbal commands, "control holds", and other "less than lethal force" measures - anything from punches, kicks, use of a baton, or pepper spray.
Jeremy Warnick, a Cambridge police spokesman, said that the police "are still trying to contact witnesses, and we haven't spoken with the individual who was arrested". A baton was used to wrest Ohene's hand behind him so he could be handcuffed and safely transported to a hospital, they added. If Ohene's erratic behavior was the result of a mental illness - and not just because of possible drug use - the charges may be dropped, Warnick said.
Mr. Ohene was standing naked in the middle of Massachusetts Avenue around 9 p.m. Friday. When officers arrived, they found Ohene on a traffic island.
'Numerous attempts made by officers to calm the male down were met with opposition and his hostility escalated while officers attempted to speak with him, ' according to the report.
Police said they told Ohene they were "only there to help him and were concerned for his safety", according to the police report.
Bard said officers tried to talk to the student, but he was behaving irrationally. An officer grabs Ohene's legs from behind, knocking him forward into another officer.
Ohene can be heard on the video yelling, "Help me, Jesus!" After several minutes of conversation on the street's median, officers physically restrained the man, identified as 21-year-old Selorm Ohene, by taking him to the ground.
Bard said that once on the ground, Ohene continued kicking and flailing. Two officers were treated as well for minor injuries.