Video police officers repeatedly striking Selorm Ohene, a black Harvard University student, has gone viral. In the footage, three Cambridge police officers and an MBTA Transit Police officer pin Ohene to the ground while arresting him near the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Waterhouse Street.
According to the police report, Ohene was naked at the time of the arrest and a woman who appeared to be Ohene’s acquaintance told responding officers that Ohene “may have been on drugs.” The police report says an officer struck Ohene five times in the torso during the arrest.
Marc C. McGovern, the Mayor of Cambridge’s mayor, called the “disturbing” while promising that the findings of their investigation would be made available to the public.
via Boston Globe:
In the video, shot by a bystander and released by police, Ohene is standing on the median of Massachusetts Avenue, surrounded by three officers, then turns and approaches one of them. An officer grabs Ohene’s legs from behind, knocking him forward into another officer. The three men fall to the pavement. The third officer helps pin Ohene to the ground.
Ohene can be heard on the video yelling, “Help me, Jesus! Help me, Jesus!” as he struggles with the officers. A fourth officer helps restrain Ohene, and one of the officers can be seen striking Ohene once, according to video released by police.
In a separate video of the incident, filmed from the opposite side of the street and obtained by the Globe Saturday night, an officer can be seen striking Ohene quickly four times while another officer grips the first officer’s belt.
Ohene, a native of Ghana, is a mathematics major at the historic Ivy League university.
The Boston Globe reports that the Cambridge Police Department last updated their use of force policy in 2011. Their policy allows officers to “use only that degree of force which is reasonably necessary to make an arrest, place someone in protective custody, bring an incident under control, or protect the lives of themselves or others.”
You can read the full statement from Mayor Marc C. McGovern below: