Naked Harvard Student Won’t Be Prosecuted; Cops To Get Two Reviews

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2018/05/25/naked-harvard-student-wont-be-prosecuted-cops-to-get-two-reviews/

The naked Harvard College student thought to be under the influence of hallucinogens whom Cambridge police arrested on a median in mid-April won’t be prosecuted, and a former state supreme court justice will investigate the cops who arrested him.

Selorm Ohene, 21, was facing multiple charges after taking off his clothes, throwing them at a woman, and resisting arrest when Cambridge police officers showed up. He also spat blood and saliva at a paramedic who showed up to help take him to a hospital, police said.

A widely distributed video shows several police officers taking him down and struggling to subdue him, including five punches to his torso.

Critics of the arrest have said the cops were unnecessarily violent. Supporters of the police officers say they did what they had to do.

Ohene’s lawyers, Harvard Law School professors Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. and Dehlia Umunna, released a statement Friday saying they are “delighted to learn” that their client won’t be prosecuted.

The lawyers also say that Ohene “thanks the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and the Cambridge Police Department for their efforts and consideration” and that he offers “profound thanks” to Marian Ryan, the Middlesex district attorney, and her first assistant, Steve Loughlin. It also says that Ohene does not plan to discuss the matter publicly

The Harvard Crimson first reported the lawyer’s press release on Friday afternoon.

A spokesman for the Middlesex District Attorney’s office confirmed to New Boston Post on Friday afternoon that the student “has not been charged” but did not respond to a request for a statement explaining the decision, instead directing questions to a press release from the Cambridge Police Department.

The Cambridge police press release says “No charges have been filed against the student,” but doesn’t say why.

Instead, the written statement announces that Roderick Ireland, a former justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, plans to conduct an “independent review of the Police Department’s internal review” of the conduct of the police officers who arrested Ohene.

The incident has a racial component. The student is black. The police officers in the video appear to be white.

The Harvard Black Law Students Association condemned the incident as police brutality shortly after it happened.

Ireland, who will be investigating the police, was the first African-American on the state’s highest court. Cambridge’s police commissioner, Branville G. Bard Jr., who defended the cops who made the arrest in the days afterward, is an African-American.

Cambridge police are still conducting an internal review of the arrest.

“Once that internal review is completed, Chief Justice Ireland will review the findings and issue his report,” the Cambridge police press release states. “Chief Justice Ireland’s report will then be made available to the general public.”

Cambridge police say they don’t know when either review will be completed.

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