An officer with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police Department has been placed on administrative duty pending an investigation after a video emerged of him beating a woman on a bus and pulling his firearm on witnesses recording the incident.
The now-viral video was uploaded to Facebook by Nino Brown, an organizer for the group Mass Action Against Police Brutality, last week. In the disturbing footage, taken in Roxbury last Friday, you can hear the 24-year-old organizer and others attempting to de-escalate the situation by telling the officer to put his weapon down.
“He ran up to her, and began barking in her face,” Brown told the Boston Globe in a telephone interview. “He didn’t do anything to de-escalate the situation or calm her down. He escalated the situation. I was scared,” Brown said. “Everyone was shaken up.”
Brown said about five officers boarded the bus, with their hands on their guns, and restrained the woman.
“It seemed unnecessary,” Brown said. “How many adult men does it take to bring down one woman?”
The woman, whose name has not been released, was accused of stealing before the violent encounter with the unidentified officer. Transit Police Lieutenant Richard Sullivan refused to identify what the woman was accused of stealing, but did say the officer felt threatened after he confronted her on the bus and she threw rubbing alcohol in his face.
“He’s on a bus giving her lawful orders to cease her behavior and she’s assaulting him,” Sullivan said.
From there, the situation intensified. The video shows the officer beating the woman with a baton on the back of the bus as bystanders plead with him to stop. Others attempt to calm the woman after she appears to push the officer back to escape. When the officer pulls his weapon, witnesses tell him to drop the gun multiple times. A short while later, he holsters his weapon, but when backup arrives on the bus to arrest the woman, it appears that another gun is drawn.
The woman was eventually charged with larceny. She was expected to appear in Roxbury Municipal Court Monday. But while the situation is under investigation, Sullivan says that the woman chose to be “combative,” fueling the situation.
“All that woman had to do was behave as a responsible citizen and engage peacefully,” Sullivan said, calling the officer involved a “veteran police officer who is well-respected in the department.”
Sullivan vowed to conduct a “fair and thorough” investigation.
SOURCE: Boston Globe | VIDEO SOURCE: YouTube
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