Expert: Shrewsbury Officers Did Not Use Excessive Force In Video

SHREWSBURY (CBS) – A video posted on YouTube is raising some questions about the use of force by Shrewsbury police.

The video shows officers trying to restrain a man inside a holding cell at the Shrewsbury Police Department.

The officers enter the cell and realize the man has tied something around his neck. Four officers then surrounded the prisoner. At some point the man kicks, and as three officers focus on his upper body, one officer kicks back.

The person who posted the video calls it police brutality, but is it?

WBZ-TV’s Peg Rusconi reports.

“That would not be my assessment,” said Tom Nolan.

Former Boston police officer and BU criminal justice professor Tom Nolan says a prisoner trying to take his own life would be a serious concern for the police.

“The man who’s laying on ground with whatever he’s got tied around his neck actually kicks at the officer, and the officer responds very quickly with a leg kick to the prisoner’s leg to basically put him down and subdue him, and he does it quickly,” said Nolan.

The suspect was being held on a domestic assault and battery. As a result of this episode, he was also charged with assaulting a police officer.

A spokesman for the Worcester district attorney said the Shrewsbury police asked the state police to review the video, and the state police found the officers’ actions passed muster.

Another former chief from another town said he questions whether the prisoner’s kick was voluntary.

The YouTube video lasts about three minutes. Officials said about 30 minutes of tape was reviewed.

Attempts to contact the man who was in the cell were unsuccessful.

  • Cynic

    There are few that are more skeptical of the Police than myself. That having been said…I don’t see any brutality here. There is no anger on the part of the Police…They do not Punish the man.. I see a little bit of ” if you kick me I’ll kick you.” But I see the Police bringing the man under control and removing anything that he could use to harm himself.I also don’t see any resistance on the part of the man. so,No there is no brutality here.Comparing it with incidents in NH and Holbrook Mass. where prisoners were viciously beaten there is a gigantic difference.

    • therese2011

      he didnt kick the poilce he was almost DEAD!!!!!.AND CAN YOU TELL ME WHY THEY NEEDED 4 GUYS WHALING ON HIM.

    • therese2011

      sorry cynic i dont agree the man was already down and almost dead from strangling himself.shrewsbury poilce must of had a slow night.mabey they should get a beating.they all should be ashamed of themselves.


        Thank you therese2011. You got it right! Also, I never hit my girl friend, who happens to be the police chief’s sister.

  • Cynic

    One Cops has Sap gloves on but I don’t see him using them.

  • Cynic

    After watching the You Tube video I see that two of the cops have Sap gloves on. One of them kicks the man three times then appears to punch him. That is a little questionable. One of the other Cops appears to tell the Kicker to leave the cell and he does.

  • Warren

    If the Attorney General does not get this case there is something wrong. The police can not be trusted. But, come to think of it, what can one expect of an Attorney General who works for this Administration? Impartiality? Justice? Objectivity?

  • Cynic

    Being fair to the Cops… There are three there doing what has to be done to protect the man from himself and one that the Chief needs to talk to. What would the result have been if they hadn’t? In Quincy a couple of years ago the Police did fail and even had a good laugh about it as a man banged his head and as a result he was found dead in the cell.Of course in that case it was quickly ruled that the man died from an overdose of Cocaine. The reality is that if he had not come in contact with the Quincy Police he would not have died. To me the Shrewsbury situation is a good example of how such incidents SHOULD be handled.

  • Cynic

    Except the guy that did the kicking and punching…He needs a few days off without pay.


    I wonder what Tom Nolan would think if it had been him on the floor getting punched and kicked? Would he think: “Wow, these guys are doing a really good job and they are being so swift!”?

  • mdsing

    I don’t understand this. The guy was trying to commit suicide and the cops saved him. He fought them – and they used force to save him. Ultimately, he is alive. Why isn’t he grateful to the police?

  • Weary

    This guy beat his girlfriend and apparently was doing push ups before the cops came in,previously arrested for assault on another woman and resisting arrest. He is a winner.

  • MKJ

    I don’t understand why this man was not immediately transferred to a psych unit at UMass after he supposedly tried to commit suicide. I think the police acted appropriately except for the fact this man needed some professional psychiatric help, the police are not trained to deal with this, restrain and transport to the appropriate facility would have been my choice in this matter.

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