Cambridge police officers filmed allegedly beating Harvard student Selorm Ohene

A bystander's video shows four officers struggling with Ohene who was believed to be high on hallucinogenic drugs

Officers who responded to the scene found Ohene standing nude in the middle of a traffic island on Massachusetts Avenue.

Bard Jr. defended his officers Monday amid a growing backlash over the forcible apprehension of a visibly distressed black Harvard University student who was naked and allegedly hallucinating on drugs.

Drew Faust, the president of the university, said that although she does not yet know all the facts, the incident is "profoundly disturbing".

"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.

With two different stories coming from police and witnesses, a spokesman for Cambridge police said in an email Sunday that the department is committed to a "thorough and complete" review. As in any case involving the use of force, he said, the police have begun an internal investigation.

In a statement, Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern called the video, which shows a police officer punching Ohene several times while he was pinned to the ground, "disturbing".

"You have to judge their actions within the context of a rapidly evolving situation and not with [an] 'ideal construct, '" he said.

According to the statement from the Harvard Black Law Students Association, students are calling for the Cambridge officers to be fired for failing to act appropriately to help a Harvard student that appeared to be suffering from a mental health crisis.

Jeremy Warnick, a Cambridge police spokesman, said that the police "are still trying to contact witnesses, and we haven't spoken with the individual who was arrested". After he was observed clinching both of his fists and started taking steps towards officers attempting to engage with the male, officers made the tactical decision to grab his legs and bring him to the ground, however, the male resisted arrest once on the ground.

The Cambridge Police Commissioner later offered more detail of the arrest and addressed the use of force. Ohene can be heard yelling. "When confrontations can not be averted and include the 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", he said. The primary concern I've addressed this morning focuses on punches (five in total) issued by one of the involved officers after the suspect was on the ground. A baton was used to wrest Ohene's hand behind him so he could be handcuffed and safely transported to a hospital, they added. While on the ground, at least one officer repeatedly punched the student in his torso as he screamed for help.

Bard said that once on the ground, Ohene continued kicking and flailing.

Bard said officers tried to talk to the student, but he was behaving irrationally.

"But we don't live in an ideal world, " he said. He has been charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, assault, resisting arrest, and assault and battery on ambulance personnel. "We operate in a practical world".

Ohene was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.



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