Cambridge Police Reconsidering Charges Against Black Harvard Student

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

The 21-year-old Harvard University student who was arrested by Cambridge police on Friday remains in Mount Auburn Hospital undergoing a mental health evaluation, police said at a news conference on Monday. "But, once again I am making no determinations prior to completing a thorough investigation".

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.

Harvard University President Drew Faust called the incident "profoundly disturbing".

'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, ' according to the report. According to a police report, Ohene was naked, and a woman who appeared to be Ohene's acquaintance told officers he may have been on drugs. Police shackled his ankles before putting him in an ambulance.

Members of the Harvard Black Law Students Association, some of whom witnessed Ohene's arrest, called into question Bard's version of events, characterizing the incident as an instance of police brutality.

Police said they told Ohene they were "only there to help him and were concerned for his safety;" however, he became "aggressive, hostile, and intimidating" and approached officers with clenched fists, prompting them to take him to the ground, the report continued.

"The officers took the actions that they felt necessary at that time", Bard said.

Ohene was charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, assault, resisting arrest, and assault and battery on ambulance personnel, police said. He noted CPD officers are trained to always use the least amount of force possible. Most of the concern is not about police intervening with the student but how they did so - video shows the student being punched after he was detained.

"One of the reasons that we righteously get upset is that officers, once they get to the scene and immediately, before even understanding what's going on around them, they see a black body and they immediately attack".

Ohene's lawyers said in a statement that the incident "continues to be a trying ordeal for Selorm and for his family". "Help me, Jesus!" Eventually, a fourth officer helps restrain Ohene while another one can be seen punching the student. "As the public is aware, several students captured the incident on their cell phones", the statement said.

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. A pool of blood remained on the pavement as the ambulance departed.

"While it can be inferred that any injury to the mouth occurred during the struggle with police, the male could have had, could have suffered from injuries prior to use getting there", Bard said.

"He is now recovering from injuries sustained during his encounter with the Cambridge Police Department, " the attorneys wrote in a joint statement.

Cambridge Mayor Marc C. McGovern called the incident "disturbing" and said in a statement Sunday that "that the horrific treatment of black Americans at the hands of law enforcement has no place in Cambridge".

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