Daily Archives: October 28, 2010

Photo Of The Day: Cute Couple

Published October 28, 2010

A couple (Terence S. Jones/Flickr)

A couple (Terence S. Jones/Flickr)

Photographer Terence S. Jones shot the Hubbub Photo of the Day a couple of days ago in Somerville. (PS, Jones is on an ambitious project to shoot and upload a photo every day for 365 days. Check out his stuff.)

Join WBUR’s Flickr group and submit your best shots.

DA Assigns Senior Prosecutor To Review RCC Arrest

Published October 28, 2010

At the Boston Police Department’s request, the Suffolk County district attorney has assigned a senior prosecutor to review the arrest of a 16-year-old boy last week at Roxbury Community College, which was recorded on video and posted to YouTube on Tuesday.

The video appears to show an officer pinning down and punching and kneeing the teenager.

The video appears to show an officer pinning down and punching and kneeing the teenager.

The video appears to show an officer pinning down and punching and kneeing the teenager.

Suffolk DA Daniel Conley said he is tapping Josh Wall, a prosecutor with more than 15 years experience who oversaw reforms in the use of eyewitness evidence by Boston police.

“It’s important for everyone involved that there be independent eyes reviewing what occurred here,” Conley said in a statement.

The boy — who is not identified because of his age — was arraigned Monday. The district attorney said he was previously charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and trespassing.

Comment threads around the Web show both support and condemnation of Boston police.

Hubbub commenter lee writes: “How do you coax this type of person into getting into handcuffs. Ask them nicely?” Commenter richard taylor adds:

Having been a bouncer in my college days in Kenmore Square and Cambridge, I have been in many situations where, to get control of a combative person, you needed a few bnouncers to use force to subdue and remove uthis type of drunk and combative patron. Even if someone is five feet five inches and weighs 120 pounds, they–including women– can be very strong; you must overwhelm with physical force and pain compliance tactics to cotrol their violent behavior before this person injures others or those trying to control him.

An anonymous commenter on Universal Hub concludes: “The moral is ‘Get cuffed up or get roughed up.'”

But YouTube commenter pat61778 writes: “TYPICAL police brutality against the minority community.” And At-Large City Councilor Ayanna Pressley tweets: “I am shocked and deeply troubled by what I saw on this video.”

An ad-hoc group called the Boston Black Men’s Leadership Group held a news conference earlier to condemn what it calls “police brutality.” Earlier, I spoke with the group’s spokesman, Jamarhl Crawford.

“He had no weapon, he’s not an imposing figure, 16-year-old guy,” Crawford said. “They have plenty of tools at their disposal, I think, to handle that situation in another manner than it was handled.”

Crawford is calling for the establishment of a police oversight panel with subpoena power and a citizen review board. He is asking the mayor and BPD brass to hold a town-hall meeting in which “we go through all the tough stuff.”

BPD Commissioner Ed Davis said officers used force in the arrest, but the investigation will decide whether it was excessive or appropriate.

RCC Arrest Video: What Is Going On Here?

Published October 28, 2010

When the Globe first flagged it yesterday afternoon, some 350 people had viewed this YouTube video, which appears to show a plainclothes Boston police officer punching and kicking a young man on the ground at Roxbury Community College. Now the video has racked up more than 14,000 views.

Police Commissioner Ed Davis has seen the video, and he says it’s clear the police used force. The question is whether the force was excessive or appropriate. Davis said he reviewing the footage, as well as surveillance video from the school.

Here is context from today’s Globe story:

The teenager, who was not identified because he is a juvenile, was wanted on outstanding warrants and for escaping Department of Youth Services custody. He was seen Friday by Boston police and a DYS worker entering the college’s administration building. An officer told him to stop, and he did, according to police reports.

But according to the reports, the teenager resisted when an officer attempted to place handcuffs on him, and at one point grabbed the handcuffs from the officer. A struggle ensued, and the teenager was taken to the ground after flailing his arms and throwing punches, according to police reports.

Before you watch the video, keep in mind:

  • You weren’t there.
  • You can’t see the suspect most of the time.
  • You can’t see what did or did not happen before the video started.
  • Though the video does not appear to be edited, it might have been.
  • The video is uncomfortable to watch and contains explicit language.

Now, tell me, what do you think is going on here?

Continue reading

A Weak Defense Tries To Poke Holes In A Weak Offense

Published October 28, 2010

Closing arguments are underway in the corruption trial of Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner. A verdict could be reached as early as Friday. WBUR’s David Boeri files his latest dispatch from federal court. –AP


The key for me today will be the closing arguments by the defense. The defense put on no witnesses, of course. Chuck Turner, you ask? Well, he put himself on the stand.

“Why didn’t the defense ask him more questions after the prosecution was through with him?” a reporter asked outside the courtroom yesterday, after the defense said it had no further questions. The question was on par with asking, “Why don’t we let kids play with guns?”

In pursuing what he called his duty as a public official to testify, Turner had played punching bag to the prosecutor for two days. His credibility seemed as drained as his memory of Ron Wilburn, the government informant who gave him something — something Turner said he couldn’t remember. Something the prosecutor delighted in describing as a big, green wad.

So, having called no witnesses, and despite the seemingly counter-productive exertion of its own defendant, attorney Barry Wilson will make his case that the government hasn’t proven theirs. He does have material to work with. There is that notorious videotape. Though it shows something changing hands, it’s vague what it is. Wilburn says he gave Turner money.

But Wilburn never counted it, so he can’t say how much. The government claims it was $1,000. Unbelievably, though, the FBI agents never frisked their informant before or after he gave what he gave to Turner, so the government doesn’t know whether Wilburn gave him all the money — or any of it. The defense might suggest Wilburn skimmed most of it.

And there’s no recording of the phone calls, which, the witness says, set up the meeting in which he allegedly gave Turner money. This despite the witnesses having regularly and secretly recorded phone calls from the targets.

Did Turner extort the money? If he did, it was with none of the bluster and bluntness of the classic shakedown artists who normally go to trial. It is in the matter of creating doubt among the jurors — or just one — that the defense will delve.

Barry Wilson has his work cut out for him.

Thursday Morning: Election Mania

Published October 28, 2010

What’s news on a mild beautiful fall morning in Boston:

The Boston Globe endorsed Gov. Deval Patrick. “While Baker is right to insist that Patrick can do more to change government, he’s wrong to suggest that the governor has been slow to embrace the need for major reforms.” (Globe)

Bill Hudak dropped his defamation suit against Rep. John Tierney. In a statement, the Tierney campaign called the suit “frivolous.” (AP)

Candidates for treasurer are in a fight for the finish line. “Typically it’s not a tight political contest, but there’s nothing typical about this election year.” (WBUR)

The Internet is transforming elections, but voter registration is stuck in the 20th century. “Voter apathy is not the primary (turnout) problem. … It is the state’s antiquated and paper-reliant registering system that keeps many voters away.” (ElectionWire)

Boston police are reviewing a video of officers using force to arrest a juvenile. Commissioner Ed Davis said the question is whether the force was excessive or not. (Globe)

A federal judge blocked a Mass. obscenity law meant to protect minors, “ruling that the statute was written so broadly that it would criminalize legitimate websites and general electronic communication.” (Globe)