Around New England

Harvard Crimson Condemns Arrest of Drug-Affected Naked Man As ‘Police Brutality’

The student newspaper at Harvard College has condemned Cambridge police officers for their actions arresting a Harvard undergraduate last week.

A video taken by a bystander shows police officers interacting with the 21-year-old student, who was standing naked in the median of Massachusetts Avenue and reportedly had thrown his clothes in the face of a woman. An acquaintance of the man had told police that the man had taken a hallucinogenic drug.

The video shows officers talking with him for two minutes before taking him down and attempting to restrain him for about five minutes.

“It bears repeating:  Last Friday night, four police officers attacked an unarmed, naked, black young man. The officers not only initiated physical interaction with the student but also caused injury to his body. One of the officers punched the student at least five times in the stomach while he was on the ground. Blood was found on the pavement, witnesses reported,” The Harvard Crimson said in an editorial.

The Cambridge police commissioner, Branville G. Bard Jr., said during a press conference Monday that restraining someone who doesn’t want to be restrained is difficult and sometimes takes escalating force. He also argued that when police encounter “a rapidly evolving situation” it isn’t fair to ask them to act in ideal terms, but that they should rather be judged by “whether what happened was unreasonable.”

But the Crimson editorial board isn’t buying it.

“It does not take an expert in policing to understand that there is a difference between restraining someone and punching them,” the editorial states.

The student newspaper also calls on Harvard University “to do everything it can to defend the student’s legal rights and rights as a student.”

The incident occurred Friday, April 13.

New Boston Post has published an editorial earlier this week supporting the Cambridge cops.

Comments

comments