Bill Maher: We Need to Stop Saying Most Cops Are Good Until There’s More Evidence

Bill Maher suggested there should be a movement for people who have been victims of police brutality after a discussion on his show about police brutality.

During a segment on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher, Maher called out abusive police officers and the people who protect him on Friday.

“We need to stop saying most cops are good like we know that to be true,” Maher said. “I hope it’s true, but I need some evidence, unlike cops.”

The HBO show host continued and said the violence exposed by the people who post the videos on social media is a problem. He questioned the kindness of police and questioned why there are so many body cam footage and other videos of them “being bad.”

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Bill Maher attends the Los Angeles Premiere of LBJ at ArcLight Hollywood on October 24, 2017 in Hollywood, California. During a segment on his show HBO Real Time with Bill Maher Friday night, Maher called out abusive police officers in viral videos of police brutality and slammed other officers for not reporting them. Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Electric Entertainment

“The bad ones, not the good ones. Problem is we don’t really know what that percentage is. That’s the question I’m asking tonight – if so many cops are good why are there so many videos of them being bad?” Maher questioned.

Maher said “the blue line stuff has got to go away” because police officers don’t often report abuse of fellow officers. One example he used was the viral video that surfaced earlier this month of a young woman who was beaten by cops while she was at a beach on New Jersey.

“Just in the last month we’ve seen ‘just a few bad ones’ beating the suntan lotion off a skinny girl in a bikini, ‘completely atypical officers’ mercilessly wailing on a homeless guy in Oregon and ‘totally non-representative policeman’ beating a black man in Arizona,” Maher said. “That’s a lot of videos of guys who barely exist doing shit that hardly ever happens.”

The HBO host suggested there should be a “#MeToo movement for the police,” for the amount of police brutality videos that keep surfacing the internet.

“We need a #MeToo movement for the police. If Garrison Keillor has to go away for putting his hand on a woman’s back, perhaps we should decide what should happen when two men pin a woman down in the sand and punch her in the face,” Maher said.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>We need a <a href=”;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#MeToo</a&gt; movement for the police. If Garrison Keillor has to go away for putting his hand on a woman’s back, perhaps we should decide what should happen when two men pin a woman down in the sand and punch her in the face.” – <a href=””>@BillMaher</a&gt; <a href=”;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#RealTime</a&gt; <a href=”;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#BlueToo</a&gt; <a href=””></a></p>&mdash; Real Time (@RealTimers) <a href=””>June 16, 2018</a></blockquote>

Maher also pointed out that this was the reason NFL players are taking a knee, not because they did not like the anthem itself. He joked that if anyone wanted to become a police officer, they should not expect for them to be nice.

“If you expect nice, don’t be a cop,” Maher said. “Be a Mountie. Police work is like proctology, assholes come with the job. It doesn’t give you the right to abuse people. You’re a cop, not a flight attendant.”

Maria Perez, ,, “Bill Maher: We Need to Stop Saying Most Cops Are Good Until There’s More Evidence”,

Civil rights leader suing NYPD, alleging police brutality during Manhattan march

A prominent civil rights leader is demanding justice after he says police went to far in what ended up being a violent arrest, and he believes video of the incident supports his claim.

Now, Walter ‘Hawk’ Newsome is suing New York City and the NYPD, and he wants those involved held accountable.

The claims of police brutality stem from a Black Lives Matter protest back in March on the Upper West Side.

Video shows one officer using his bicycle to subdue Newsome, while another is seen punching him twice. It is unclear exactly what led up to the violent confrontation, but Newsome insists the protest was peaceful.

“I was hit several times with a metal mountain bike, pushed into my chest, pushed into my neck, and hit in my groin with it,” Newsome said while announcing his lawsuit Friday. “I was punched in my head several times. I was slammed to the ground. A bike was thrown on top of me. From what I saw later in video, there was an officer who had his knee on the back of my skull.”

Other officers quickly formed a perimeter, obstructing the view of whatever transpired next.

“I thought they were going to kill him, they way that they were handling him,” said Nupol Kiazolu, with Black Lives Matter. “They were beating him, treating him like an animal, and I was just freaking out.”

Newsome said he suffered shoulder and back injuries during the arrest. He was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration.

The NYPD has not commented on the case.


Jim Dolan, “Civil rights leader suing NYPD, alleging police brutality during Manhattan march”,

At Least One Judge In Brooklyn Knows How To Stop Police Brutality

He’ll probably get smacked down by the Supreme Court though.

Two things need to happen to start the process of reducing police brutality. Well, three things, but “having police officers who are not racist” doesn’t seem like a thing worth hoping for. So, given the immutable dastardly makeup of our current police forces, two legal changes could bring them to heel: changing the subjective standard of reasonableness to a fact-based inquiry, and piercing the veil of qualified immunity.

I’ve discussed before the problem with cops who “fear for their life.” I think we should live in a world where the cops have to be reasonable in fact. It’s not enough to “think” you have a gun, you better actually have a gun before they start shooting, otherwise the cop should go to jail.

But for those who have never been slammed into the hood of their car, as I have, or represented someone who has, qualified immunity can seem a little trickier. It is the cops’ “get out of jail free” card. Even if agents of the state can be shown to have acted in violation of your Constitutional rights, qualified immunity says that they cannot be held accountable, unless they violate a “clearly established” law.

For reasons passing understanding, things like beating you or shooting you, do not count as “clearly established” violations.

The Supreme Court, both parties, have eagerly expanded the scope of qualified immunity in recent years. This doctrine makes the Constitution nearly unenforceable, after the fact. Why would an officer bother to get a warrant if he and his department can’t ever be held liable for failure to act within the strictures of the Fourth Amendment?

Well, Judge Jack Weinstein of the Eastern District of New York has had about enough of that.

In 2014, NYPD responded to a 911 call of child abuse. The call was unsubstantiated (and later found to be fabricated). A man, Larry Thompson, answered the door when the cops arrived. They asked to come in, he asked to see a warrant. They didn’t have one. Instead, they busted in his door, and started beating and kicking him. Judge Weinstein decided that the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity. From The New York Law Journal:

Qualified immunity has recently “come under attack” as being too protective of police officers and standing at odds with the original intent of Section 1983 of the federal civil rights statute, U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein of the Eastern District of New York said.

“The law, it is suggested, must return to a state where some effective remedy is available for serious infringement of constitutional rights,” Weinstein said.
Weinstein said he finds the U.S. Supreme Court’s expansion of the doctrine in police brutality cases “particularly troubling” and that it protects “all but the plainly incompetent.”

Cops will undoubtedly fight the ruling until they can get an appellate court to give them back their right to ignore the Constitution. They’ll take it right to the Supreme Court, on which sits an illegitimate 9th justice hand picked by conservative forces. Cops cannot afford for the veil of qualified immunity to be pierced, because then citizens would have a way to make them pay for their brutality.

I don’t think Judge Weinstein will win this battle, but it is the fight worth having. Getting at qualified immunity is a key want to stop the terror dispensed by American police officers.


Elie Mystal, Jun 12, 2018, “At Least One Judge In Brooklyn Knows How To Stop Police Brutality”,

‘At first glance this looks like a mistake’: Video shows Arizona officers beating unarmed man

June 6

The Mesa Police Department released surveillance video on June 6 that shows three officers beating an unarmed man in the hallway of an apartment building.

Four police officers from a Phoenix suburb have been put on paid administrative leave after video showed them beating an unarmed man last month, the Mesa Police Department said.

On Tuesday, the department released a 15-minute video of the incident, which took place May 23, in an effort to be transparent after recent high-profile cases where its officers’ use of force was questioned.

The footage shows four men in uniform frisking a man in a gray shirt as he stands near a railing on the upper floor of an apartment complex, holding a phone to his ear. The officers appear to give direction to the man — later identified as 33-year-old Robert Johnson — at which point he walks toward a wall.

Moments later, the officers have Johnson backed up into a corner near an elevator, then take him down. Johnson does not appear to resist. In the video, at least two officers are shown punching Johnson several times in the head; one officer pummels him on the left side of his face five times in rapid succession, before landing a final right hook that causes Johnson to slump down to the ground.

While this is happening, the elevator door opens and two more officers emerge and surround Johnson.

Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista told several local news outlets Tuesday night that he first became aware of the video after a civilian reported it to him about a week after the incident, and that four of the officers involved were placed on leave immediately pending an investigation. He did not identify the officers placed on leave or specify whether the others in the video were also under investigation.

The officers had been responding to a call about a woman in distress and found Johnson and 20-year-old Erick Reyes, Batista told the Arizona Republic. While police were questioning Reyes, they asked Johnson to stay behind; the incident escalated after Johnson didn’t sit down when he was told, he added.

“When the person didn’t sit down, our officers then engaged in use of force to make him sit down,” Batista told the newspaper. “I don’t feel that our officers were at their best. I don’t feel that this situation needed to go in the way that it went.”

Johnson was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and hindering, and Reyes was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and possessing drug paraphernalia, the Republic reported.

The video released Tuesday was recorded by a surveillance camera in the apartment complex and does not contain audio. Mesa police have not released any body-camera video that might also have been recorded.

Advocates for Johnson blasted the officers’ actions, as well as what they called “the culture of violence at the Mesa Police Department,” in a statement released Tuesday night by pastor Andre Miller and attorneys Benjamin Taylor and Joel Robbins. They said Johnson had been cooperative and following police instructions when officers began assaulting him — and that the incident would have gone unnoticed if surveillance cameras had not recorded video.

“We hope and pray that the Mesa Police Department will accept responsibility for the misconduct of these officers,” the statement read. “Mesa must take concrete steps to ensure that culpable officers are disciplined, retrained, or dismissed. The Mesa Police Department must develop a law enforcement culture that meets community and constitutional norms and ensures that police and citizens go home safely after police interactions.”

Mesa City Council member Jeremy Whittaker said the video was “appalling” at first glance.

“It would be irresponsible of me to convict these officers in the court of public opinion before they are guaranteed their constitutional right to a fair trial as I understand there is a criminal investigation,” Whittaker wrote. “I am eager for due process to take place. We hired Chief Batista last year to focus on making sure our police department is fairly serving the public. Leadership change takes time and I have full faith he is focusing on the issues that plague our community.”

The Mesa Police Department was thrust into the national spotlight recently after a high-profile incident involving questionable use of force. In December, former Mesa police officer Philip Brailsford was acquitted of second-degree murder charges in the January 2016 shooting of Daniel Shaver. After the ruling, a judge released graphic video from Brailsford’s body camera that showed Shaver sobbing, crawling on his hands and knees and begging for his life in the moments before Brailsford shot him multiple times.

In February, the department was also criticized after body-camera footage showed Mesa police violently taking down an 84-year-old grandmother, causing bruises and a black eye.

On Tuesday, Batista said he had instituted new policy that would prohibit officers from striking a person’s face or head unless that person is fighting them.

“This is no way represents the whole work that is done every day,” Batista told 12 News, of the newly released video. “They’re human beings. Certainly, at first glance this looks like a mistake. And it doesn’t look right and it’s my job — it’s our job — to collectively investigate and find the answers to this.”

June 6, The Washington Post, “‘At first glance this looks like a mistake’: Video shows Arizona officers beating unarmed man”

‘Police brutality in broad daylight’: Florida officers investigated after video hits social media

‘Police brutality in broad daylight’: Florida officers investigated after video hits social media

Two police officers in Hallandale Beach, Florida, are under investigation after a video showed them tasing and beating a man during an arrest for stealing a cellphone Wednesday afternoon. (Image source: Twitter video screenshot)

The video depicts officers Jaime Cerna and Richard Allen arresting Daniel Dunkelberger, who was accused of stealing a cellphone from someone’s car.

“Of course the video is of concern,” Hallandale Beach City Manager Roger Carlton told WFOR. “There are processes that have to unfold here, one of which is an internal affairs investigation which has already begun. Both officers are on administrative leave.”

What happened?

Dunkelberger, 27, reportedly stole a cellphone from a vehicle Wednesday afternoon, and according to the police report, he became combative when officers tried to apprehend him.

The phone belonged to Nicholas Garcia, who called the police and also witnessed the events leading up to the video in question.

“He’s trying to run away,” Garcia told WFOR. “He kept telling the officers, ‘No I’m not going to sit down or put my hands behind my back,’ and he pushed the older officer and that’s when the other officer tackled him and tried to put him under arrest and put his arms behind his back”

Here’s the video:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Police brutality in broad daylight on Hallandale Beach Blvd. Police heavily beat this man up busted his head open led him to bleed heavily. The man is known around the area to be a mentally challenged indiavidual. <a href=””>@wsvn</a&gt; <a href=””>@CBSMiami</a&gt; <a href=””>@WPLGLocal10</a&gt; <a href=””>@SunSentinel</a&gt; <a href=””></a></p>&mdash; 1 (@05302018a) <a href=””>May 31, 2018</a></blockquote>

The footage picks up with Dunkelberger up against the police car, and Cerna and Allen standing in front of him, hitting him with their batons and ordering him to get on the ground.

Dunkelberger is not complying, so one of the officers appears to hit him with the taser and take him to the ground. Once he’s down and no longer resisting, one of the officers hits him one more time on the leg with the baton and steps on him before the other officer handcuffs him.

The person recording the video screams several times for the officers to stop hitting him. The officers respond, defending their actions.

Dunkelberger was charged with burglary and resisting arrest.


Aaron, “‘Police brutality in broad daylight’: Florida officers investigated after video hits social media”,

John Bercow: Police assessing allegation of misconduct in public office against Commons speaker

Adds pressure as he is embroiled in controversy over bullying claims and allegations

Commons speaker already under pressure over allegations he called Andrew Leadsome a 'stupid woman'

House Speaker John Bercow clarifies his ‘stupid woman’ comment allegedly directed as Andrea Leadsom

He said he would “continue to speak out firmly” for the interests of the Commons and publicly disagree with the government’s management of business, which is led by Ms Leadsom.

Mr Duddridge said: “We cannot let the current situation of intimidation and bullying from such a senior figure whom we should look to set an example and act as arbitrator. The perpetrator cannot be allowed to have so much power over the House, its members and staff who work in the Commons.

“It is essential that the Speaker steps aside from chairing and participating on all matters related to bullying.”

The incident came as an inquiry into allegations Mr Bercow bullied two former private secretaries, Angus Sinclair and Kate Emms, was blocked by MPs.

The Commons Standards Committee voted three-two against allowing Parliament’s watchdog to investigate the allegations, which he has consistently denied.

The Speaker told MPs he had been unhappy about a “badly handled” transport statement that had reduced time for other business in the house, including a Grenfell Tower debate.

He said: “It was in that context and that context alone that having expressed my displeasure about the matter quite forcefully from the chair I used the word ‘stupid’ in a muttered aside. That adjective simply summed up how I felt about the way that day’s business had been conducted.

“Anyone who knows (Ms Leadsom) at all well will have not the slightest doubt about her political ability and her personal character.”

Shaun Connolly, The, , “John Bercow: Police assessing allegation of misconduct in public office against Commons speaker”,

Has Milwaukee, where police tased NBA’s Sterling Brown, paid over $22M in police misconduct cases?

“Since 2015, the City of Milwaukee has spent more than $22 million on settlements with litigants accusing police of misconduct.”

Bob Donovan on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018 in a news release

NBA player Sterling Brown was tased by Milwaukee police in an incident that began with a parking violation. (Milwaukee Police Department)

By the evening of May 23, 2018, a newly released video — showing the arrest and tasing of NBA basketball player Sterling Brown by Milwaukee police — was going viral.

The incident occurred Jan. 26, 2018, when Brown drew police attention by parking across two handicapped spaces outside a Walgreens about 2 a.m.

The police bodycam footage showed officers had been confrontational from the start of their interaction with the Milwaukee Bucks rookie, who was thrown to the pavement and tased.

As the video was being released, the Milwaukee police chief apologized to Brown, a 23-year-old African-American, and said officers had been disciplined.

Brown has hired a prominent Wisconsin lawyer to bring a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Milwaukee. That raises the possibility of taxpayers having to pay for the police actions and made us wonder about an alderman’s statement made in connection with the incident:

Has the City of Milwaukee paid, since 2015, more than $22 million to settle police misconduct lawsuits?

Statement by an alderman

The incident with Brown never sat well with Milwaukee Ald. Bob Donovan, who represents the south side neighborhood where it occurred — but not necessarily because of how Brown was treated.

Days after the incident, Donovan accused Mayor Tom Barrett, a frequent political rival, of having “ordered” that Brown not be charged with a crime — allegations Barrett strongly denied.

(Brown had been arrested on a tentative misdemeanor charge of resisting or obstructing an officer. But ultimately police decided not to request criminal charges be filed.)

Now back to the release of the videotape.

It had been reported two days before the release of the video when it would be released. Several hours before the release, Donovan issued a news release that didn’t mention Brown, but seemed to allude to him. The release carried this headline: “Has policing in urban America become an undoable job?”

Donovan, who is known as strongly pro-police, lamented a lack of respect for officers, saying: “And there’s another thing that I just don’t get: Why someone would refuse to obey a lawful order given by a police officer.”

Just before using the Taser, which emits an electrical shock, on Brown, officers had told him to remove his hands from his pockets. Brown, who had taken his hands in and out of his pockets several times before that, replied: “Hold on. I’ve got stuff in my hands.”

The Donovan statement from the news release that we want to check is this:

“Since 2015, the City of Milwaukee has spent more than $22 million on settlements with litigants accusing police of misconduct.”

The figures

In October 2017, seven months before Donovan made his claim, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported:

Police misconduct has cost Milwaukee taxpayers at least $17.5 million in legal settlements since 2015, forcing the city to borrow money to make the payouts amid an ever-tightening budget.

That amount jumps to at least $21.4 million when interest paid on the borrowing and fees paid to outside attorneys are factored in, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis found.

At the time, the city was considering whether to close six fire stations, leading Ald. Bob Bauman to say: “Just have the police stop violating civil rights, and we’d have plenty of money for fire houses.”

So, the $21.4 million is close to Donovan’s claim of more than $22 million.

Official tally: $20.2 million

When we asked Donovan the source for his statement, he provided us a May 3, 2018, memo from the city’s nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau.

The memo says that since 2015, the city has paid $20.2 million to settle police misconduct lawsuits or claims against the city, including four that exceeded $2 million:

Case Amount
Chaunte Ott, wrongfully convicted of 1995 homicide $6.5 million
74 African-Americans subject to strip, body cavity searches $5 million
Woman raped by officer after he responded to her 911 call $2.5 million
Dontre Hamilton shot to death by officer in a park $2.3 million

But more pending

The memo goes on to say that the total is $22.1 million if a pending settlement of $1.9 million in a stop-and-frisk lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union is included.

On May 8, 2018, a Common Council committee postponed a vote to recommend approving the settlement when aldermen were told the estimated settlement could be much higher — some $6 million.

So, that settlement has not been finalized.

Our rating

Donovan says: “Since 2015, the City of Milwaukee has spent more than $22 million on settlements with litigants accusing police of misconduct.”

The city’s nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau puts the tally at $20.2 million, but notes that a pending settlement in one case would push the total to $22.1 million.

We rate Donovan’s statement Mostly True.

2 Mississippi Police Officers Fired After Brutally Beating, Kicking Black Man

Breanna Edwards,

Screenshot: WJTV-TV

Two Mississippi officers were swiftly given the boot after being accused of brutally beating up a black man last week for avoiding a police checkpoint.

According to ABC News, 36-year-old James Barnett was chased by officers after he reached a vehicle checkpoint and turned around. After a short chase, Barnett was pulled over, and the officers ran up to his vehicle with their guns already drawn.

The officers from the Laurel, Miss., Police Department ordered Barnett to the ground, which he readily complied with, but that’s when they began kicking him in the head and face with steel-toe shoes, Barnett said.

“I wouldn’t wish this on NOBODY!! One even had the nerve to ask me how did those steel toes feel boy, trying to get a rise out of me, but I just laid there and prayed!!” Barnett wrote in a Facebook post showing his injuries. “I’ve never been so afraid in my life, 6 white cops surrounded my bed taunting me as if the assault wasnt enough!! I will not let this go, I dont this to happen to anyone else. There is no justice in what they did to me!! But I will get JUSTICE!!”

The photos show one side of his face swollen and red with scratches and bruises all over.

Not only that—Barnett claimed that after police took him to South Central Regional Medical Center, he was beaten up more. To add insult to injury, officers charged him with five misdemeanors, including resisting arrest and driving on a suspended license.

However, according to the Laurel Police Department, a supervisor on duty saw that there was a problem with the arrest and handed the case over to the department’s internal-affairs team, who launched an investigation mere hours after the incident occurred. By the next day, the officers, who remain unidentified, were fired.

The Police Department also noted that it has been communicating with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation about possibly pressing additional charges against the officers.

“The Officers and Administration of LPD take these types of allegations very seriously,” the LPD said in a statement to ABC News. “It should be noted that the [internal affairs invesigation] was initiated only hours after the incident occurred before any media attention, social media posts or even a formal complaint from the individual involved.”


, “2 Mississippi Police Officers Fired After Brutally Beating, Kicking Black Man”,

Harvard Undergraduate Arrested, Sparking Allegations of Police Brutality

By Lucy Wang and Michael E. Xie, CRIMSON STAFF WRITERS

UPDATED: April 15, 2018 at 2:03 a.m.

Timeline of Student Arrest

A black Harvard College student was arrested Friday night after a physical confrontation with law enforcement for charges including indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, assault, and resisting arrest, according to information posted Saturday by the Cambridge Police Department.In response to the event, the Harvard Black Law Students Association posted a tweet calling the arrest of the student an incident of police brutality. BLSA also later posted a statement on its website calling CPD’s version of events—published on social media—”incorrect.” Members of BLSA, who wrote they videotaped the incident, wrote in the statement they saw the student, naked and unarmed, surrounded by at least three Cambridge Police Department officers.

In an unusual move, the police department tweeted a lengthy explanation of the arrest in direct response to BLSA’s tweet.

According to CPD’s tweet, officers arrived at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Waterhouse at around 9:09 p.m. last night in response to “a call from a woman who stated a male had thrown his clothes in her face” and six other reports of a “completely naked” man.

The CPD wrote in its tweet that officers “located and verbally engaged” the student, who was standing on a traffic island in the middle of Mass. Ave. Officers learned from the student’s acquaintances that he previously “took narcotics,” which “could have a hallucinogenic effect when ingested,” according to the tweet.

The officers and the student then engaged in a physical altercation, according to the tweet from the CPD.

“Numerous attempts made by officers to calm the male down were met with opposition and his hostility escalated while officers attempted to speak with him,” department officials wrote in the tweet. “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.”

BLSA released a statement Saturday evening stating that the CPD’s accounting of events is “incorrect.” BLSA’s statement, signed by “Concerned Members of the Harvard Community,” states that a number of BLSA members and admitted Harvard students witnessed the incident April 13—an incident the statement calls “a brutal instance of police violence.”

“A naked, unarmed Black man, stood still on the median at the center of Massachusetts Avenue and Waterhouse Street,” the statement reads. “He was surrounded by at least four Cambridge Police Department (CPD) officers who, without provocation, lunged at him, tackled him and pinned him to the ground.”

“While on the ground, at least one officer repeatedly punched the student in his torso as he screamed for help,” the statement continues.

The CPD tweet states that three officers from Cambridge Police and another officer from Transit Police “were required to gain compliance from the male” and place him in handcuffs.

The student was subsequently transported to a local hospital for an evaluation, and, while in transit, spat “a mixture of blood and saliva at an EMT,” according to the tweet.

The BLSA statement notes that “a pool of blood remained on the pavement” as the ambulance departed.

The student is currently under arrest and is facing charges of “Indecent Exposure, Disorderly Conduct, Assault, Resisting Arrest, and Assault and Battery on an Ambulance Personnel,” according to the CPD tweet.

CPD spokesperson Jeremy Warnick elaborated on the department’s account of events in an emailed statement Saturday afternoon.

“Once on the ground, the individual party had pinned his arms under his body making it difficult for officers to handcuff him,” Warnick wrote. “Physical force was used to unpin his arms and gain compliance in order to handcuff the party.”

Late Saturday night, Warnick emailed The Crimson a copy of the full police report detailing the sequence of events Friday. The report elaborates on the account of events presented in the tweeted statement.

“We informed him that we were only there to help him and were concerned for his safety,” reads a portion of the report, written by one of the officers involved. “It was made very clear that our pleads were not going to be received.”

The reports adds that the student’s behavior became “aggressive, unreceptive, and intimidating almost immediately.”

After assessing that the student “could not be reasoned with,” one officer grabbed the student’s legs in order to bring him to the ground, according to the report.

Unable to pry the student’s “hands from underneath his body, I delivered approximately 5 strikes with a closed fists to the area of his stomach,” the report reads. “These seemed ineffective.”

In a statement sent to Cambridge City Councilors following the arrest, Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville G. Bard, Jr. described the arrest and specifically discussed the five punches the CPD officer delivered to the student’s stomach. Bard wrote he had received questions and concerns from “select members of the community” and that “the primary concern” centered on these punches.

“In a rapidly-evolving situation, as this was, the officers primary objective is to neutralize an incident to ensure the safety of the involved party(ies), officers, and members of the public,” Bard wrote. “To prevent the altercation from extending and leading to further injuries, particularly since the location of the engagement was next to a busy street with oncoming traffic, the officers utilized their discretion and struck the individual in the mid-section to gain his compliance and place him in handcuffs.”

The BLSA statement argues that other Harvard resources should have “been mobilized to come to the student’s aid prior to CPD getting involved.” In particular, the statement notes that Harvard University Health Services were contacted first—but that HUHS transferred the callers to CPD.

The department failed to “appropriately respond to the individual needs of the person concerned” by “resorting to violence unnecessarily and with impunity,” the statement reads. The statement further states that HUHS put the student “at great risk of being killed by the police” by choosing to involve CPD.

Harvard University Police Department spokesperson Steven G. Catalano said Saturday that HUPD was “aware” of the call.

“Officers responded, but when they arrived the suspect was already under arrest,” he said.

The BLSA statement makes several demands in the wake of the incident, including that the officers involved in the arrest be “investigated and held accountable” and that Harvard create an “internal crisis response team to support” affiliates that “does not involve CPD.” The statement calls on Harvard to offer “support from the school, fellow students and our instructors” to “put pressure on the CPD” to comply with BLSA’s demands.

The statement further demands that CPD respect the rights of civilians to record police conduct. CPD’s own policies recognize that individuals have the “right under the First Amendment to openly record police activity in public in a peaceful manner,” according to the statement.

“It was clear to our Harvard BLSA members that CPD officers were not following these procedures,” the statement reads. “But for our members’ persistence in defying police attempts to obstruct videotaping this incident, there would be no record.”

A Harvard Law student tweeted out what appeared to be a video record of the arrest over the weekend, but later deleted that video.

The BLSA statement calls CPD’s conduct on April 13 “unacceptable.”

“We are reminded, as soon-to-be-graduates of an elite law school that we cannot protect our bodies with our degrees—and that is why we also call our current students and alumni to embrace these demands as inclusive to all Black people, not just Harvardians,” the statement reads.

The statement notes the April 13 incident has “broader political implications” for students and for Bostonians. The statement explicitly states, though, that BLSA is not “contextualizing this event in the broader instances of police violence” out of respect for the privacy of the victim and his family “at this time.”

CPD plans to hold an “internal review” of the incident given “use of force was required to gain compliance” from the student to “avoid further injury to himself,” according to the police department’s tweet. The review will be conducted by the department’s leadership and by its Professional Standards unit, according to the tweet.

As a matter of policy, CPD conducts such internal reviews whenever officers use force.

“Because the police department carries an affirmative burden to demonstrate that the exercise of force was necessary and appropriate, the department must conduct a complete and thorough review of all such incidents,” the department’s 2011 policy reads.

Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale wrote in a statement to City Councillors over the weekend that he believes the outcome of the review will allow CPD to learn “lessons” from the arrest.

“I await the outcome of the internal review and analysis of this incident by the Professional Standards Unit,” DePasquale wrote. “I have great faith in Commissioner Bard and the men and women of Cambridge Police Department and I am confident that they will use this as an opportunity to reflect on lessons that can be learned from this incident.”

“I know that the Cambridge Police Department takes great pride in serving and protecting the City of Cambridge,” DePasquale wrote.

Roland S. Davis, the College’s associate dean for diversity and inclusion, addressed the incident in an email he sent to College students Saturday afternoon.

“Please know that our primary concern is for the student’s well-being and privacy, and that we will be working with them and their family to attend to these needs,” Davis said. “However, we are very much aware of the wider societal backdrop in which this has happened, and want to acknowledge that this incident may be upsetting to many of you.”

Davis held a gathering for College affiliates Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. in the Phillips Brooks House Parlor Room.

BLSA held a gathering in Wasserstein Hall at the Law School at 5:30 p.m. Saturday evening to discuss the incident.

Friday’s incident coincided with the night of Yardfest, the College’s annual outdoor spring concert.

University spokesperson Rachael Dane wrote in an emailed statement that the University is “aware of the forcible arrest of a Harvard student by the Cambridge police department last night.”

“We are concerned and gathering information about the facts and circumstances leading up to the arrest and understand that the city of Cambridge is reviewing the situation,” she wrote. “University officials are also working, as they always do, to care for and support our students.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: April 14, 2018

A previous version of this story indicated Harvard Black Law Students Association had released a public statement in response to the Cambridge Police Department’s lengthy explanatory tweet and quoted some erroneous information contained in that statement. In fact, the document originally referenced in this story was a draft letter being circulated internally by BLSA; the draft contained some incorrect information regarding CPD’s videotaping policies. CPD does not, in fact, have a policy requiring its officers to wear body cameras. After BLSA released its official statement Saturday evening, Crimson editors updated this article with the final statement.


Lucy Wang and Michael E. Xie, , Harvard Crimson, “Harvard Undergraduate Arrested, Sparking Allegations of Police Brutality”,