Harvard president calls beating of Black student "profoundly disturbing"


Mr. Ohene was standing naked in the middle of Massachusetts Avenue around 9 p.m. Friday.

The Globe reported Tuesday that Drew Faust said that while all of the facts are not yet known, the incident 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 their community partners. Ohene then turned from me and started walking in the direction of Officer Maziarz.

Ohene was reportedly violent and an officer punched him five times in the stomach to calm him down and arrest him.

"Each incident our officers are involved in presents an opportunity for evaluation and determination on what alternatives can be done in the future for the most optimal outcome", reads a joint statement issued by the City Manager and Police Commissioner, who promise to examine officer protocol moving forward.

The Boston Globe reports that the Cambridge Police Department last updated their use of force policy in 2011.

The footage appears to show several police officers standing in circle around Ohene.

Ohene was taken to Mount Auburn Hospital for a mental health evaluation.

The student group's description said "While on the ground, at least one officer repeatedly punched the student in his torso as he screamed for help". At that point, I made a tactical decision to grab his legs and bring him down to the ground. As in any case involving the use of force, he said, the police have begun an internal investigation.

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Ohene was charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, assault, resisting arrest and assault and battery on an ambulance personnel. A scuffle ensues. A crowd gathers as officers surround Ohene on the ground.

"The goal in these situations is always to use the least amount of force and to get the subject to mental health providers using the least amount of force necessary". Eventually other officers were able to pry Ohene's arm from behind his back and handcuff his arms and shackle him at the ankles.

The lawyers said it had been a trying ordeal for their client and his family, and they asked the public and the media to respect his privacy.

As for the take-down, police claim Ohene "resisted arrest once on the ground". The commissioner said "it's a very hard thing to do" to "constrain an individual against their will". 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. "When confrontations can not be averted and include 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".

In an email to Harvard students and faculty Monday afternoon, Harvard President Drew Faust called the incident "profoundly disturbing" and said the school has been in contact with the city.

"A pool of blood remained on the pavement as the ambulance departed", according to the Black Law Students Association.

A video of a Cambridge Police Officer punching a black Harvard student while he was physically restrained has prompted an investigation, the result of which will be made public, Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern assured. "We have high standards for our police officers in Cambridge. In most cases, the extensive training of our officers go through results in the de-escalation of risky situations", McGovern said in a statement.

"Cambridge affirms that Black Lives Matter, but it must be true in practice as well", McGovern said.