CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – An investigation has been launched into the Friday arrest of a Harvard University student who was naked and reportedly on drugs after video allegedly shows an officer punching the man several times.
Around 9 p.m. on Friday, a woman called 911 to say Selorm Ohene, 21, had thrown his clothes in her face. Six other people called police to report the man.
Cambridge Police say that when they arrived, Ohene was standing naked on a traffic island in the middle of Mass. Ave. People who were with him told police that Ohene had taken drugs that likely had a hallucinogenic effect.
According to a police report on the incident, Ohene was clenching both fists and walking toward officers. They opted to grab his legs and bring him to the ground.
Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern said video taken by an onlooker shows an officer punching the man, who is black, several times.
“What is shown in the video is disturbing. 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 dangerous situations,” McGovern said in a statement. “When confrontations cannot 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.”
Ohene was taken to an area hospital for evaluation. Police say he spit a combination of blood and saliva at an EMT.
He is charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, assault, resisting arrest, and assault and battery on an ambulance personnel.
“Because use of force was required in order to gain compliance from Ohene to avoid further injury to himself, the responding officers or any on-lookers, an internal review will be conducted by the department’s leadership and Professional Standards Unit, per policy of the department,” Cambridge Police said.
The Cambridge mayor said the investigation into the incident will be open to the public.
“We must learn from this incident and always strive to do better, but I want to be clear: my colleagues and I take these matters seriously, and will follow this closely to ensure that all the facts are properly investigated and that the public is informed of any and all developments,” McGovern said.