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Boston police say they are investigating a video which shows police arresting a man who swore at them, then grabbing him by the throat after he was handcuffed.
The video, which The Free Thought Project reports was initially posted to Facebook last week, begins by showing a plainclothes police officer recording people with a cellphone.
A few seconds into the video, a man approaches the videographer and swears at the camera.
“Fuck the pigs, my nigga,” the man. “Tell your bitch, ‘suck my dick,’ nigga.”
Another plainclothes police officer approaches the man, then threatens him.
“You wanna go to arrested?” the officer asks.
The man walks away and attempts to cross the street, but the police officer follows him, then leads him over to a police cruiser. The plainclothes officer he can be heard telling a uniformed police officer that he is arresting the man for disorderly conduct. The plainclothes officer claims the man was blocking traffic and was “jumping up and down.”
After the police handcuff the man, they begin putting him inside the cruiser, and he begins yelling and swearing at them again.
As he yells, the uniformed police officer grabs him by the throat and appears to strangle him for several seconds before finally pushing him into the cruiser.
Several people begin yelling and the uniformed officer slaps away the hand of another person recording the incident. A shoving match erupts between the police and members of the public.
“Somebody’s gonna get shot,” the videographer yells.
The plainclothes police officer who arrested the man pulls out a baton and orders the videographer to cross the street and stand on the sidewalk. The videographer gets on the sidewalk, then the police officer walks up to him and starts pushing him, then grabs him by the wrist, and asks another police officer for a set of handcuffs to arrest him.
A woman walks up, telling the police that the videographer is her “little brother” and that she’s “taking him home.”
The video ends, leaving it unclear whether the videographer was arrested.
Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts have told local media outlets that the arrested man's actions were protected by the First Amendment and that he shouldn't have been arrested.
The police department did not respond to a request for comment, but on Monday they confirmed to several local news outlets that they are investigating the video.
“No one has come forward to complain [about the incident], but that hasn’t stopped us from at least turning it over to Internal Affairs,” Boston Police Lieutenant Michael McCarthy told The Boston Globe.
Although the department hasn't finished its investigation, that didn't stop McCarthy from insisting that the man in the video wasn't being strangled.
“It’s on the base of his neck,” McCarthy said. “They’re trying to push him down into the police car, and he continued to talk and yell. There’s no indication that there was any type of force used around his neck.”
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh also said the man was not strangled.
“If there was choking, he would not be able to speak,” Walsh said, according to The Boston Herald. “I don’t know all of the particulars, but I have spoken to the Commissioner and I will be briefed later on, but I don’t view that as choking.”
In 2014, Massachusetts passed a law aimed at stopping domestic violence which, in part, made it a separate crime to strangle someone. Under the law, a person convicted of strangulation faces up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If the person causes serious bodily injury, they can face up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
McCarthy reportedly declined to name the officer in the video.
We have a filed a public records request for the video the plainclothes police officer is seen recording with a cellphone.
A Chelsea police officer was arraigned earlier today on criminal charges after a video surfaced that allegedly shows him beating a handcuffed man during a Sept. 26, 2014, incident. Police officer Felix Rivera, Jr., 34, is facing charges of assault and battery, filing a false police report, and violating a man's civil rights.
According to a joint press release issued by the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office and Chelsea Police Department:
Based on Rivera’s report, the victim – then 20 and a resident of Chelsea – was arraigned in Chelsea District Court on charges of assault and battery on a police officer, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. In March of this year, however, the victim’s attorney provided Suffolk prosecutors with a video clip filmed by an unknown witness showing the incident and argued that the charges against the victim were unfounded.
The ensuing investigation by Assistant District Attorney Michele Granda of the DA’s Special Prosecutions Unit and Chelsea Police Internal Affairs detectives developed significant evidence, including the statements of other officers, that corroborated the victim’s claims. As a result, prosecutors terminated the pending case against the victim and began presenting evidence and testimony to the Suffolk County Grand Jury.
The investigation revealed that multiple Chelsea Police units responded to the rear of 155 Chestnut St. that night for a report of a man with a gun. Among those present at the scene was the victim, whom a supervising officer found to be intoxicated and interfering with the investigation. This supervisor directed other officers to place him into protective custody and remove him from the area.
As the handcuffed victim was being escorted away, Rivera allegedly struck him four times in the face, knocking him to the ground. Another officer reached out to stop him. This officer denied the allegation in Rivera’s report that the victim had pushed him while being led from the scene.
Rivera has been suspended without pay from his job and is currently being represented by attorney Keith Nicholson.
The district attorney's office has not released the video yet, but we have filed a public records request for it.
While it's good news that this officer was charged if the allegations are true, this case still raises a number of troubling questions.
If other officers had witnessed this beating and saw that it was unjustified, as the press release claims, then Rivera should have been arrested on the spot and no charges should have been filed against the victim.
Instead, the victim was charged and the district attorney's office seems to have had every intention of prosecuting him based solely on the word of Rivera. Charges against the victim were not dropped until about five months after the incident occurred and not until a video contradicting the officer's statements was released.
Perhaps instead of blindly trusting police officers who claim to be victims of assault, prosecutors should begin insisting on being provided with actual evidence before filing criminal charges.
Rivera was previously awarded a Medal of Valor for his role in stopping an armed home invasion, showing that faith alone isn't enough even for seemingly heroic police officers.
It remains to be seen whether the district attorney's office will re-open every other case this Rivera has been involved in, given that they have established that he is a liar.
It's not clear if any of the other officers who were involved in the incident are facing any potential consequences for not immediately reporting the beating or arresting the perpetrator.
A man survived a harrowing experience with an off-duty, plainclothes Medford police detective on Sunday after driving the wrong way through a rotary, then being threatened with death during a subsequent traffic stop.
In a dashcam video recorded by the motorist, who Boston.com has identified only as "Mike," Medford police detective Stephen Lebert is seen stepping out of an unmarked, red pickup truck while wearing a white, sleeveless shirt and shorts. Lebert begins reaching behind his back while approaching the car menacingly.
Mike puts his car in reverse and begins driving away, but stops as it becomes clear that Lebert was reaching for a police badge, not a weapon.
"I'll put a hole right through your fucking head," Lebert screams as he approaches the vehicle.
“I didn't know you were a cop,” Mike replies.
“I'll put a hole right through your head,” Lebert again threatens.
Mike pulls into a parking space and Lebert approaches him again and begins yelling and swearing at him.
"You're lucky I'm a cop 'cause I'd be beating the fucking piss out of you right now," Lebert threatens.
Mike mentions that he was recording the traffic stop with a dashcam and Lebert responds by threatening to take the camera, which is generally illegal for police to do without a warrant, although he didn't end up following through with the threat.
Mike explains that he told Lebert he was recording because he's required to do so by Massachusetts state law. Boston.com further explains that "Massachusetts is a 'two-party consent' state, which means it’s illegal to record audio without the knowledge and permission of the person being recorded." However, this information is false. According to the 2001 Hyde ruling, it's only necessary to keep an audio recording device in "plain sight" to avoid violating the wiretapping law and no consent is required. Furthermore, the 2011 Glik ruling, which found that records police and other public officials is protected by the First Amendment, has left it ambiguous as to whether the Massachusetts law is constitutional.
Later, another police officer shows up. Mike tried to explain how Lebert threatened him, but the officer shows no concern at all and instead begins grilling the driver about allegedly not having the correct address on his license.
After Mike was issued a citation, the police officer begins to walk away until the driver asks to speak with him again. Mike again explains how Lebert had threatened him, but the officer continues to show no concern at all. Rather than advising the driver of how to make a complaint against Lebert, he instead suggests appealing the ticket. He then said, “The longer you stay here, the more trouble you're just gonna get into.”
Lebert was placed on paid administrative leave Monday morning after Mike uploaded his dashcam video to YouTube.
“He’s a 30-year member of the department and works in our detective division,” Medford Police Chief Leo Sacco Medford Police Chief Leo Sacco told Boston.com. “He’s a very effective police officer but last night’s incident that’s on video, at least that portion of the video that I saw, is troubling to say the least.”
Here is the full description of the video that Mike posted on YouTube:
Driving home today I got lost and made a wrong turn. In an unfamiliar area I drove slowly but made the mistake of not seeing a poorly marked rotary. I stopped midway through it when I realized I screwed up and fortunately there were no close calls or potential accidents. Only a single oncoming car (not the medford cop/detective in the video, he was on the other side) that had fully stopped before the rotary seeing my stupid mistake. After I stopped and realized it was too late I just continued out of the way and back onto the correct road in front of me. This man starts tailgating me and puts his high beams on in his Red Chevy Silverado pick up truck. He then yells how I'm an asshole and that he is going to hurt me, and well the rest is in the video.
The date is incorrect as my dashcam apparently was set wrong. I very rarely ever need to pull videos off of it over the period of time I've owned it and just didn't notice the date mistake. The time however is right.
I also never gave my address to him, he found it by running my plates/license so him saying I'm not registered is false. I have had that info updated since I moved.
Mike has not yet responded to a request for comment.
The saga of George Thompson, the Fall River man who was arrested for recording a police officer, is emblematic of America's tiered justice system, where ordinary people are punished just for exercising their rights, but powerful people like police officers face no repercussions whatsoever even when the brazenly break the law.
George Thompson was arrested by Fall River police officer Thomas Barboza in January, 2014 after he used his iPhone to record the officer even though recording police is protected by the First Amendment. While Thompson was still facing wiretapping and resisting arrest charges, a police department employee wiped his phone, destroying the video and all other data on it. The police department tried to blame Thompson for deleting the video, claiming without evidence that he might have used a cloud service to do it, until a company they hired to examine the phone determined a police employee had done it.Read More
Officer Blake Holt of the Braintree Police Department is at it again. We can now add the New Year’s Eve takedown of Jeramie Croft to Holt’s track record of terrible policing. Holt attacked Croft, who was already in custody, after he refused to take off one of the two pairs of pants he had on. After the incident, Croft was taken to the hospital to treat the facial injury he sustained. A woman who answered Croft's phone and said she was his girlfriend said he had bruising on his face from the incident. The woman would not provide her name.Read More
The Boston Police Department says they have almost completed their internal investigation of a brutality case that happened nearly six years ago, despite never collecting crucial video evidence. On June 9, 2009, Boston police officer Adarbaad Karani and bouncers at the Revolution Rock Bar were caught on video attacking a patron, causing severe injuries that included a broken jaw and multiple concussions.
Jacob Carnelli, who was very intoxicated that night, was removed from the bar by bouncers, but later returned to retrieve his credit card which he had left behind.Read More
Fox 25 has discovered yet another case of police lies being refuted by video evidence.
Jacob Carnelli was charged with assaulting Boston police officer Adarbaad Karani at a bar, but the charge was dismissed after a surveillance video from the bar showed that he was the one who was attacked.
Carnelli suffered a number of injuries from the incident, including multiple concussions and a broken jaw. He later received a $100,000 settlement from the bar and a $300,000 settlement from the city as part of a personal injury lawsuit.
Carnelli's case is one of around two thousand police misconduct lawsuits that the city has settled over the past decade, at the cost to taxpayers of more than $36 million.
The incident happened all the way back on June 9, 2009 and the suit was settled last year, but it's making the news now because Fox 25 has learned that the Boston Police Department claims its internal investigation is still ongoing nearly six years later.
Carnelli, who was very intoxicated that night, was removed from the Revolution Rock Bar in the Financial District by bouncers. He later returned to retrieve his credit card which he had left behind.
The police report claims that Carnelli shoved Officer Karani in an attempt to get back into the bar, but then “ran away and ran from the officer and left the area without further incident.” The police report also cites bar employees who claimed that Carnelli "fell to the ground several times and that at no time did anyone strike him" as an explanation for his injuries.
But surveillance video from the bar shows Carnelli standing in the doorway of the bar, talking with Karani and bouncers. At no time did he push anyone. Eventually, Karani and the bouncers dragged Carnelli outside the bar and threw him to the ground. Karani climbed on top of Carnelli, forcing his knee into the man's back.
Despite this clear video evidence, prosecutors stand behind Karani's version of the events. The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office told Fox 25 that the case was actually dismissed because Karani “was late for court after attending a charity event and the judge was impatient.”
But now that Fox 25 has been following up on the story, the Boston Police Department claims they are close to completing their internal investigation.
The case is not unique in this regard, as the Boston Police Department frequently takes a year or more to resolve complaints. Last year, Shaun Joseph, who was wrongfully arrested during a protest in 2013, finally decided to just file a lawsuit because the department failed to resolve his complaint after more than a year even though it was backed up by video evidence.