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18 April 2018, 12:49 | Floyd Cook
A statement from the mayor of Cambridge addressing Ohene's arrest
Video of an arrest of a black Harvard student in which the 21-year-old was punched by officers has lead the Cambridge Police Dept.to do an internal review.
The 21-year-old mathematics major was arrested Friday around 10 p.m. and charged with disorderly conduct, indecent exposure, resisting arrest and assault after officers found him wandering near the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Waterhouse Street without clothes on. They were also told by Ohene's friends that he had possibly taken LSD or another hallucinogenic drug, the report said.
Officers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, responded Friday night after receiving seven emergency calls about a man acting erratically, The Washington Post reported. While in the ambulance, he spat blood and saliva at an EMT, according to the report. A fourth officer helps restrain Ohene, and one of the officers can be seen striking Ohene once, according to video released by police.
"Although there has been significant extrajudicial commentary on Selorm's case, we do not intend to litigate these matters in the media", it reads. "What we do know raises important issues about the relationship between police and the communities they serve, student health resources, and the manner in which University units operate with each other and with our partners in the community", Faust wrote. Perhaps more fittingly, Cambridge authorities should consider a thorough review of police practices and culture, because the department has a troubling history of escalating encounters rather than de-escalating them.
Police claim that Ohene was non-compliant, naked and had taken drugs.
"If anyone ever had to constrain an individual against their will, " Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville G. Bard Jr.
"You have to judge their actions within the context of a rapidly evolving situation and not with this ideal construct" said, Commissioner Bard.
"A pool of blood remained on the pavement as the ambulance departed", according to the Black Law Students Association.
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".
"We are reminded, as soon-to-be-graduates of an elite law school that we can not protect our bodies with our degrees", the group said in the statement. But the police response and the circumstances surrounding the arrest are alarming, at best. The group called it a "brutal instance of police violence", and questioned the involvement of police at all when they suggest Harvard officials should have dealt with their own student. Many called the police.
"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". There were about 30 onlookers during the incident, police said. "As Mayor, I will continue working with my colleagues to make sure that the horrific treatment of black Americans at the hands of law enforcement has no place in Cambridge".
As a police department, our officers are rightfully required to uphold the high standards expected from the community, city leadership and police leadership. That goes on for some time, with the officers at arm's length at least. "When confrontations can not be averted and include the use of physical force, we must be willing to review our actions to ensure that our police officers are providing the highest level of safety for all".
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