The Harvard College student whose arrest by Cambridge and Transit police officers has sparked debate over police use of force is now represented by two Harvard Law School professors who said their client won't be speaking publicly any time soon.
CPD officers arrested the undergraduate Friday after responding to several calls about the student, who was standing naked at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Waterhouse Street. "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". The Cambridge Police Department responded to a 911 call that a woman saw a man take off his clothes and throw them at her. A fourth officer helps restrain Ohene, and one of the officers can be seen striking Ohene once, according to video released by police.
"The video speaks for itself", the lawyers said. "Help me, Jesus!" as he struggles with the officers. 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. He added, "Cambridge affirms that Black Lives Matter, but it must be true in practice as well".
"One of the reasons that we righteously get upset is that officers, once they get to the scene and immediately, before even understanding what's going on around them, they see a black body and they immediately attack". Ohene's behavior became aggressive, unreceptive, and intimidating nearly immediately.
"Ohene was found completely nude in the middle of Mass Ave. acting completely irrational", Officer Steven Burke wrote in an incident report.
Video recording of the arrest shows an officer grab the legs of the 21-year-old student and tackle him before one officer delivers multiple punches.
The original unedited video, shot by an onlooker and later released by police, is more than seven minutes long.
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When officers contacted Muntean Friday morning, he "exhibited similar behavior to the incident the prior evening", Wyatt said. Muntean was struck by the gunfire and taken to a trauma center where he remains in critical condition, Wyatt said.
Harvard president Drew Faust sent a message to students and faculty members calling the reports about the incident "disturbing", and said that the student appeared to need help at the time he was arrested. "These seemed ineffective. Eventually Officer Maziarz was able get control of Ohene's right arm and place it behind his back where it was placed in a handcuff by Officer Harney".
"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.
Ohene was also charged with assault and battery on an ambulance personnel after police said he spat a mixture of saliva and blood at an EMT.
"He is now recovering from injuries sustained during his encounter with the Cambridge Police Department", the statement from the university said. "Once on the ground, the male continued to resist arrest", according to the police commissioner. "So the individual is now being evaluated to see if they fit that set of circumstances", he said.
The officers' handling of the incident has caused controversy in the community, with Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern terming what is shown on the video "disturbing". While on the ground, at least one officer repeatedly punched the student in his torso as he screamed for help. To prevent the altercation from extending and leading to further injuries, particularly since the location of the engagement was next to a busy street with oncoming traffic, the officers utilized their discretion and struck the individual in the mid-section to gain his compliance and place him in handcuffs. A pool of blood remained on the pavement as the ambulance departed.
As a police department, our officers are rightfully required to uphold the high standards expected from the community, city leadership and police leadership.