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.
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