Video captures moment police punch, wrestle naked Harvard student to ground

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

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

Cambridge police are under fire after video surfaced showing officers tackling an unarmed black Harvard student, then punching him multiple times as he was pinned to the ground.

In the video, an officer grabs Ohene's legs from behind, knocking him forward into another officer. A police report stated that Ohene was punched five times in the stomach.

The police have defended their response, which is under an internal investigation, though the officers - three from the Cambridge Police Department and one from Transit Police - have not been removed from duty.

CNN affiliate WCVB reported the student was in police custody as of Monday evening, but was in a hospital undergoing a mental evaluation.

The footage appears to show several police officers standing in circle around Ohene. He was charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and assault.

"If anyone ever had to constrain an individual against their will, " Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville G. Bard Jr.

While the police department said the officer used force to successfully carry out the arrest, students who witnessed the event challenged the police narrative.

Police say the man resisted arrest once on the ground and the officer struck the man to gain compliance.

The lawyers said it had been a trying ordeal for their client and his family, and they asked the public and the media to respect his privacy.

"I think when you see the video and you see the officer punch the individual after he's subdued, you think, 'What kind of protocol was that?'" Siddiqui told The Globe on Sunday.

According to the police report, officers had responded to a call from a woman who said that Ohene had taken his clothes off and thrown them at her.

"He is now recovering from injuries sustained during his encounter with the Cambridge Police Department", the statement from the university said.

"Cambridge affirms that Black Lives Matter, but it must be true in practice as well", McGovern said. He allegedly spat a mixture of blood and saliva at a paramedic while inside the ambulance. "It escalated while officers were attempting to speak with him", said Bard.

On April 16, Harvard University president Drew Faust called the incident "profoundly disturbing", and said that it occurred against "the backdrop of increasingly urgent questions about race and policing in the United States".

Students with the Harvard Black Law Association agree writing "The conduct of the CPD, was unacceptable".

"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. "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".

CAMBRIDGE, A CITY that prides itself on being a bastion of progressive values, just proved (once again) it is not immune to the kind of unjust and unnecesary encounters between police and black civilians happening all over the country. We have high standards for our police officers in Cambridge.

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".

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