Boston Police Rule Off-Duty Officer In Viral Video Did Not Use Excessive Force

BOSTON (CBS) – An internal investigation by the Boston Police Department determined that an off-duty officer seen in a viral video pinning a man to the sidewalk did not use excessive force.

On May 24, Officer Edward Barrett is seen on cell phone video posted to Facebook kneeling on Milton Gurin’s back and picking him up off the sidewalk after chasing him down at the intersection of Arlington and Boylston Streets.

Following the incident, Barrett said he was making a right turn in his personal vehicle with a green light when Gurin crossed the street illegally and hit Barrett’s window with an umbrella.

Facebook video of the incident has been viewed more than 1,5 million times.

On Tuesday, Boston Police held a press conference to release results of their internal investigation, which determined that Barrett did not use excessive force and followed protocol during the arrest.

“This case I believe is a good example of why it is critically important that a full investigation is done before conclusions from the incident can be appropriately drawn,” said Boston Police Commissioner William Evans.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans releases the results of an internal investigation into an off-duty officer's actions. (WBZ-TV)

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans releases the results of an internal investigation into an off-duty officer’s actions. (WBZ-TV)

Police interviewed seven civilian witnesses, including Gurin, and seven police officers. They also viewed two cell phone videos, surveillance video, radio transmissions and the incident report from the arrest.

Evans said statements made by the man who posted the video online were contradicted by evidence.

The man claimed that Barrett slammed the pedestrian to the ground, but Evans said video shows he instead tripped and fell.

Police said Barrett followed protocol in how he detained Gurin, using what was called a “one knee on” tactic to prevent the man from getting up.

Evans said “no case is perfect” and there were “minor issues” that could have been done better. He said Barrett should have identified himself as an officer earlier and contacted a supervisor.

The internal investigation was self-initiated and no complaint was made by the man involved in the incident.

Carl Williams, an attorney for Gurin, called the arrest “worrisome.”

“You have an officer up there saying ‘This is what we’re trained to do.’ Well then that’s terrifying. If you’re training your police officers to jump on people who are of the age Mr. Gurin is, and to put their knee in their back and put all their weight on them, that’s worrisome. Because no crime was committed.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports

Comments

One Comment

  1. The State Law at many intersections is posted with signage specifically stating that the Pedestrian has the right of way on turns – a green light is given even on pedestrian pushing a button at a traffic control signal one street goes straight but cars turning right must yield to the pedestrian on the turn they make – feild means get out and keep clear of their way , stop the vehicle and even back up if needed to allow them to pass by. Quote: Following the incident, Barrett said he was making a right turn in his personal vehicle with a green light when the other man crossed the street illegally and hit Barrett’s window with an umbrella. The poor pedestrian he saw a vehicle without an electronic claxton activated nor any blue cycle lights, a vehicle with no right of way since he was on the cross walk pushed the button and was crossing or in process of crossing when cross walk signals had ceased finishing his walk across it. The police even with active emergency signals are supposed top allow pedestrian to finish their passage to safety to the opposite side , or back to original side by not doing so a person that can’t walk well or fast can be stuck in the midst of the intersection after traffic control signals have ceased protecting the persons passage and leave them to be struck by cars, The man did not know that car or man was a cop. He crossed at a cross walk and saw a car plowing to make passage one bit with him on it, He can legally slap the hood so as to let driver know to look to his side as long as its not a hostile violent hammer action to destroyy car as a set purpose. The man was chased by a stronger more fit man not in police uniform . he had no idea who it was he clearly has every right to be in fear of his life. Therefore he ran , had the cop stayed in the car as he should have or rolled down the window and said I am a police man I must get through or identified himself , his purpose etc… it would not have happened, My heart goes out to the two of them, it seems everything went wrong. The poor man fell and would not have had the cop not chased him he is an older man and could have been killed by it or injured seriously. It would not have happened any place else other than Boston, most places the police stop cars even when in cars to alert them of the presence of the pedestrian.

  2. Whitewash says:

    They would conclude that, wouldn’t they? Anyone surprised?

  3. Bc Phillips says:

    Not surprised. As the pedestrian, why would he dare go against anything said by the hot head cop?

  4. Tim McNiven says:

    Shocker. Not. I saw a woman drive through a construction zone in Sudbury, and flip off the cop doing detail there, for no reason. People are seriously hating the police.

  5. The arrest was never justified. This skits the issue. Only when a BPD officer is inconvenienced is jay-walking enforced. Shame on Evans. He’s been on a good run – this is bush league.

    1. fred says:

      Just another free pass for the frauds in blue. Yes, there are very good police officers, and I’m not trying to take anything away from those individuals. However, how can the justice system, and us as a society, continue to allow abusive cops to continue getting away with what they do. This isn’t even a matter of excessive force! That’s what makes no sense to me. It’s a matter of, what justified chasing him down and putting his hands on the man in the first place? That’s assault for anyone that isn’t part of the police union. The union keeps getting these abusive cops off, and the abusive cops keep getting more abusive. It will eventually get to a point where looking at a cop is a justification to be taken down physically and arrested and charged with something. The Land of the Free? I think not. Freedom comes after spending 10k on an attorney to avoid jail time for a fraudulent arrest.

  6. fred says:

    It’s NOT a question of “excessive force.” It’s a a matter of assault. This off duty officer placed his hands on another citizen based off of a nonviolent situation. This off duty officer was NOT acting in self defense.

    If any “non law enforcement” individual were to chase a man down, then proceed to put our hands on him, we would be immediately arrested and charged with assault and battery. Just the act of chasing the man down for tapping his vehicle would result in an arrest for any non law enforcement individual. We would be charged with attempted assault and intimidation. Then placing hands on the individual would result in misdemeanor assault charges.

    Enough is enough! When will police be held accountable in the same manner as anyone that isn’t a law enforcement officer? Why do police get free passes whether on or off duty. How many more times will we see an officer do something that would result in immediate arrest of assault and battery for anyone else, but the officer gets the free pass? Last time I checked, most police don’t even have college degrees, but society is supposed to hold them to a higher level as if they are superior human beings. Actually, several studies have shown that police with college degrees use better judgment, are 50% less likely to use excessive force, and make better decisions on when and when not to arrest an individual. But yeah, instead of hiring exclusively educated individuals as officers, let’s keep hiring these uneducated psychopaths into positions of power, let them physically bully people, then get the free pass by the justice system.

  7. Ray says:

    Message to the head of Boston Police
    You had the opportunity to do something right here but you chose Brotherhood and Union again. You are a disgrace and you have put good officers in danger by your lack of good judgment and poor choice of words. This man who I will not call an officer because he does not deserve the title, did not afford a pedestrian priority, then jumped out without identified himself which is called an assault. I have to ask, would he have done the same to a 6 ft 5″ 28 year old that looked like a body builder, I suspect he would have simply let it go or maybe he would have drawn his weapon. He needs firing and you have allowed him to take you with him.

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