Video Shows Police Beating Naked, Black Harvard Student

One officer punched the math major in the stomach five times to get him to stop resisting

Selorm Ohene, a 21-year-old Harvard University student, is the subject of a controversial video that shows Cambridge police officers using force to arrest him after they say he was found naked in a street median.

Cambridge Police Officers responded on Friday night to multiple 911 calls reporting a naked man of color who allegedly threw his clothes in a woman's face. A friend of his told the officers he may have been on drugs, The Boston Globe reports. Bard said videos of the event show that the officers standing around the undergraduate attempted to speak with the student "for a long period of time". "Help me, Jesus!" as he struggles with the officers.

"It's important to not gauge the officers' actions within the context of an ideal construct and to actually gauge their actions within the context of a rapidly evolving situation", Bard said.

'Cambridge affirms that Black Lives Matter, but it must be true in practice as well, ' McGovern wrote in the statement released on Sunday.

CORRECTION: An earlier draft of this story incorrectly identified Harvard University President Drew G. Faust as saying the incident was "a brutal instance of police violence".

In a statement signed by more than a dozen of its members, witnesses recalled how Ohene called out for help as officers struck him and that he left behind "a pool of blood" on the pavement.

The officer who ended up punching Ohene wrote in an incident report that his behavior from the start was 'aggressive, hostile, and intimidating'.

Ohene was reportedly violent and an officer punched him five times in the stomach to calm him down and arrest him.


Bard said officers had difficulty in getting one of Ohene's arms from underneath his body to be able to handcuff him. "What is shown on the video is disturbing".

A statement from the Criminal Justice Institute of Harvard Law School released Tuesday said that the Harvard student was still recovering from his injuries from the incident.

Bard explained that after Ohene was brought down, he "contorted his body" in a way that pinned his arms beneath his body, thus making it impossible for the officers to handcuff him.

The mayor of Cambridge, Marc C. McGovern, called the video "disturbing" and said he wanted to ensure "that the horrific treatment of black Americans at the hands of law enforcement has no place in Cambridge". He has been charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, assault, resisting arrest, and battery on ambulance personnel.

Bard, who is black, said officers are trained to use the least amount of force, along a "continuum" that begins with the officer's arrival.

Cambridge police are reconsidering the charges they filed after they arrested a Harvard student, with force, over the weekend. "If anyone's ever had to constrain an individual against their will, they'll know that it's a very hard thing to do". While on the ground, at least one officer repeatedly punched the student in his torso as he screamed for help. The officers held him to the ground until paramedics arrived, placed him on a stretcher, and put him in the ambulance. "Shortly thereafter, firefighters came and cleaned up the blood with bleach and water". "We will be asking questions of ourselves, recognizing that the responsibility rests with the University to establish the conditions of trust necessary for effective campus policing and the delivery and coordination of effective health care".

"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.

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