Curious About Use Of Force In State Police ArrestWBZ

The arrest of a driver following a wild chase on the Massachusetts Turnpike is raising numerous questions from readers and viewers who have seen WBZ’s video of the incident.

images image 282165854 Curious About Use Of Force In State Police Arrest Watch: Raw Video: End Of Chase

Here’s a sample from several who Declared Their Curiosity:

From Steven:

“The cops need to show more restraint… He was getting onto the ground when the first cop turns him over and sucker punches him.”

From Cyndi:

“He put the public in danger, give the cops a break.”

From Jacqueline:

“No one has the right to punch someone!!! Two wrongs don’t make it right.”

From Runner:

“The police did their job and did it well, the guy tried to run over 2 people with his car and then ran from police at high speed. using the amount of police cars they did meant they could block all traffic from behind them and safely box him in. The suspect is lucky all he got was a few punches.”

From Mary Ellen:

“Is that legal?”

From Alan:

“The police did what they had to do.”

WBZ’s Peg Rusconi asked State Police spokesman David Procopio about the contact between the first trooper and the driver.

Procopio said that would be reviewed as a matter of course.

“We do routinely review use of force and determine if it was the proper use of force and obviously that will be underway here,” he said.

Procopio pointed out this is a suspect who rammed three police cruisers and allegedly tried to run down two pedestrians and a trooper in Boston. But, he says the use of force will be impartially reviewed.

images image 280164506 Curious About Use Of Force In State Police Arrest Read: State Police Pursuit Policy (.pdf)


WBZ’s Beth Germano had criminologist Thomas Nolan, a former Boston police officer, look at the video.

“Police generally do not pursue individuals who are wanted for misdemeanor crimes,” he said.

Watching the video, Nolan said the driver, 29-year-old Alejandro Serra, was not wanted on a felony as he jumped out and started to run, only to be stopped by troopers, one of them punching him several times.

“Unless this individual is determined, without doubt, to be an extremely dangerous individual, there’s no real reason to have 10 or 12 police officers for, at best, a misdemeanor crime.”


Police say Serra was also driving with a suspended license and had other outstanding warrants, including one for trespassing.

“This was a suspect who rammed three police cruisers and almost struck a pedestrian, an adult man and his grandson in a crosswalk,” Procopio said.

State police say they review all chases and this will be no exception as they look at both the pursuit and the use of force on the suspect.

In this case, they say given the time of day and the location of the chase on a highway, so far, it seems to be by the book and justified.

What do you think?

Join the conversation in our Conversation Nation blog.

© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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