Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Concerns on Police Arrest of Harvard Student

Concerns on Police Arrest of Harvard Student

The Cambridge Police Department said it will investigate a recent arrest of a Harvard student.

But talking to reporters yesterday, Cambridge police said they may reconsider some of the charges. It contains racial slurs and expletives used by bystanders as a crowd gathered. A police squad vehicle with flashing lights is at the scene. Critics have accused them of beating Ohene.

Police claim that the use of force was warranted to arrest Selorm Ohene, 21, who they say was aggressive and high on drugs at the time, The New York Times reported. 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.

On Friday evening at 9:09 a.m., officers responded to an intersection for a disturbance. Ohene then yells as three other officers jump on him. It was learned from his aquaintances that he may have ingested a hallucinogenic substance.

'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. His legs were grabbed, and he was taken down to the ground.

However, no officers were struck during the arrest. He was put in handcuffs, Bard said. He was taken to a local hospital after spitting up blood.

Ohene was eventually handcuffed, shackled and placed in an ambulance, where he spat blood and saliva at the emergency medical technicians, the report said.

"The goal in these situations is always to use the least amount of force and to get the subject to mental health providers using the least amount of force necessary".

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"While it can be inferred that any injury to the mouth occurred during the struggle with police, the male could have had, could have suffered from injuries prior to use getting there", Bard said. "He was flailing, kicking", said Bard, adding, "They continued to try to use other means to use control holds to get his arm under his body". "If anyone's ever had to constrain an individual against their will, they'll know that it's a very hard thing to do".

He asked the public to analyze the officers' actions "in the context of a rapidly evolving situation" and added: "I absolutely do support the officers".

HUPD spokesperson Steven G. Catalano has said that HUPD was "aware" of the call about the student, but that the undergraduate was already under arrest when HUPD officers arrived at the scene. It also said the officers had tried to obstruct witnesses' attempts to record the encounter, but it did not specify how.

If Ohene was restrained, why was there a need to strike him?

The Harvard Black Law Students Association said in a statement Saturday that Harvard has "ample resources that could have, and should have, been mobilized to come to the student's aid" before police were called.

Officers located and verbally engaged the naked male standing on a traffic island in the middle of Massachusetts Avenue.

'A naked, unarmed Black man stood still on the median at the center of Massachusetts Avenue, ' the group said in a statement. A fourth officer helps restrain Ohene, and one of the officers can be seen striking Ohene. Faust called the video "profoundly disturbing" in an email sent to university affiliates Monday. 'He was surrounded by at least four Cambridge Police Department (CPD) officers who, without provocation, lunged at him, tackled him and pinned him to the ground'. Each incident officers are involved with can have varying degrees of challenges and dynamics, which is why our officers undergo extensive and some of the most progressive training in country, particularly in the areas of Trauma-Informed Training, Crisis Intervention Training, Mental Health Training, and de-escalation techniques.

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