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Selorm Ohene, Harvard Student, Arrested; Video Stirs Controversy

Selorm Ohene, Harvard Student, Arrested; Video Stirs Controversy
(Mathew Hayward/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Tuesday, 17 April 2018 01:36 PM

Selorn Ohene, an African-American Harvard University student Cambridge Police are accused of punching, was reportedly down on the ground, nude and acting "completely irrational," before things got physical, authorities said, according to MassLive.com.

Ohene, 21, was arrested on charges including disorderly conduct and assault after the incident late Friday, according to the Boston Herald. Police told the newspaper that officers arrived at Massachusetts Avenue and Waterhouse Street on a report of a naked man standing on a traffic island.

"Ohene was found completely nude in the middle of Mass Ave. acting completely irrational," Officer Steven Burke wrote in an incident report, adding that a friend allegedly told authorities that Ohene was on drugs," MassLive.com reported.

"As many as 30 onlookers had stopped to observe the nude male on Mass Ave. Vehicles also slowed to witness this obscene display. Every attempt that was made to calm Ohene down and reason with him was met with opposition," the incident report said.

Burke wrote, according to MassLive.com that at one point Ohene clenched his fists toward an officer "in an aggressive manner." One officer jumped at Ohene's legs knocking him into the arms of another officer who brought Ohene down to the ground, the website said.

In a video released to police, according to MassLive.com, officers can be seen repeatedly punching Ohene afterward while bystanders shouted at police.

The Boston Globe wrote that Ohene could be heard on the video yelling, "Help me, Jesus! Help me, Jesus!" as he engaged with the officers. One officer helped restrain Ohene, and one of the officers can be seen striking Ohene once, according to video released by police, per the Globe.

The Globe wrote that three Cambridge Police officers and one from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority were involved in the incident.

"What is shown on the video is disturbing," Mayor Marc C. McGovern said in a statement, per the Globe. "When confrontations cannot 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 Police Commissioner Branville G. Bard told city councilors in a statement Saturday that police used their discretion and struck Ohene to "gain his compliance and place him in handcuffs," the Globe reported.

Daunasia Yancey, a Boston-based community activist in the Black Lives Matter movement, told the newspaper that people need to speak more forcefully about the incident.

"It's heartening for many people to hear the mayor say it's 'disturbing,' but we also need to say it's not okay," Yancey told the Globe. "We need people and officials to just say it's wrong."

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Cambridge Police face scrutiny for allegedly punching Selorn Ohene, a 21-year-old African-American Harvard University student, who reportedly was down on the ground, nude and acting "completely irrational," before things got physical, MassLive.com reported Monday.
selorm ohene, harvard, student, arrest
Tuesday, 17 April 2018 01:36 PM
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