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.