The massive anti-police brutality protest that took place in Boston last Thursday was largely peaceful, but not completely. Kin Moy, a Cambridge resident who attended the protest, has released a video showing a state trooper attacking him with pepper spray multiple times for no apparent reason.
According to The Boston Herald:
Kin Moy, 24, told the Herald that he and some friends joined hundreds of others Thursday who were protesting the killings of unarmed black men by police in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y. Around 9:30 p.m., they made their way onto the Interstate 93 on-ramp near South Station, he said.
“We saw a bunch of officers start dog-piling this guy who was not resisting arrest and it seemed to me to be a little rough,” Moy said. “I wanted to film all of it just in case, and as I was backing up and complying with his demands but still trying to film everything, he sprayed me.”
The Massachusetts State Police policy on the use of force states that troopers may only use force to "Effect an arrest; Restrain or subdue an individual resisting a lawful seizure; or Protect themselves or others from physical harm." The policy states that pepper spray "shall not be used on passive resisters who offer NO physical resistance" (emphasis in original).
Since Moy was not under arrest, was not being detained, and was not fighting with the police or anyone else in any way, this incident is a clear and obvious violation of the policy.
According to WCVB, the State Police have already started an investigation of the incident:
Massachusetts State Police have begun an internal investigation into the incident, according to state police spokesman David Procopio.
"We have begun an internal investigation into the action seen in the video to determine whether it constitutes a violation of departmental policy," Procopio said in a statement. "The department's investigation will be thorough and unbiased."
On Moy's YouTube channel, a member of the State Police left a comment encouraging him to contact the State Police. Yesterday, Moy wrote on his channel: "I'm getting legal advice before I talk to the police. I've spoken briefly with a lawyer and he said to give his team a few days to review the video before making the next move."
The name of the trooper who pepper sprayed Moy has not yet been released by the State Police.
Update (12/9/14): Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts published this press release related to the incident:
The ACLU of Massachusetts is in touch with Kin Moy concerning reports that he was pepper sprayed by a Massachusetts State Police trooper during a protest about the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y. The First Amendment protects the right to record police officers performing their duties, and the ACLU is deeply concerned whenever this right is threatened or violated.
The ACLU of Massachusetts, together with the National Lawyers Guild Massachusetts Chapter, has also undertaken other efforts to protect the rights of demonstrators. Our staff and supporters have trained demonstrators on their rights, attended several of the recent protests, and assisted people who have been arrested during theses peaceful demonstrations.
We will continue to work for the rights of protestors responding to recent instances of police brutality and racial bias in policing. "I'm proud to represent peaceful protestors exercising their free speech rights," said ACLU of Massachusetts attorney Carl Williams. "The solidarity of the protestors—supporting each other during demonstrations, at the police station and in the courtroom—is incredibly important and heartwarming."