DA Says No Excessive Force Used In Last Year's Controversial Arrest of 16-year-old at RCC

The seven-minute YouTube clip begins with five Boston police officers, crowding a Roxbury Community College entranceway, restraining a face-down suspect. Before it's clear what's happening, a plainclothes cop in jeans and work boots pins the boy's left calf, throws four hammer punches to the back, then switches to southpaw and delivers three uppercuts. Moving a uniformed colleague out of the way, the same officer then assumes a runner's stance, secures his grip, and follows up with three knees to the chest. The suspect is instructed to put his hands behind his back, and responds in evident agony: "My hands are behind my back . . . Who the fuck keeps stepping on me?"

-From The Boston Phoenix (November 23, 2010)

In unbelievable but not surprising news, Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley announced today that “the arresting officers” who [insert verb according to your interpretation of the video above] a 16-year-old suspect last year at Roxbury Community College “did not use any excessive force or engage in any actions that constitute criminal conduct.” From the DA's statement:


Based upon our objective review of the facts, the evidence, and the circumstances in this case, including our consultation with Professor Connor, I have determined that criminal charges are not warranted against any of the officers who took part in the arrest at Roxbury Community College.


In a seemingly prudent decision, the Boston Police Department had the DA's office investigate the October 22 incident – a move typically reserved for when a perp dies during an arrest. It took almost a year for their team of experts and attorneys to reach their conclusion: that city cops and Department of Youth Services officers handled things properly with one benevolent exception:


...the flaws in the Oct. 22 arrest came from a lack of coordination rather than a lack of restraint. Many of the strikes proved to be completely ineffective, and the evidence is in the two-plus minutes it took nine public safety officers to achieve the suspect’s compliance.


I won't go on and on about the disparate viewpoints here, since I have a strong feeling that opposing sides will emerge loudly in the next few weeks. I also won't say say what a bag of bullshit this is – mostly because it's obvious, but also because the experts and involved parties would just claim that I don't understand the context.

What I will say, though, is that shortly after the initial incident, I wrote a piece for the Phoenix about how the beating emboldened RCC students to unite. They were shocked, angry, and outraged – just like I'm imagining they are now, beginning the school year with news like this. Following this comparably devastating blow, I'd be surprised if they didn't break the picket signs back out and pay their neighbors a visit. From what I hear, they won't be the only ones. To be continued...


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