Boston police punch, kick 16-year-old at Roxbury Community College Sunday, December 19, 2010
By: Chris Gonsalves
Students demand justice!
On Oct. 22, Boston police brutally arrested a 16-year-old at Roxbury Community College. Caught on video by several witnesses who used their cell phones to record the incident, at least one police officer is seen punching and kicking the young man, while several other officers hold him to the ground. In one video, you can hear the young man cry out in pain as he is forcefully held down while being punched and kicked.
Protest of police beating at RCC
The videos, posted on YouTube and shown on many news outlets, have been seen by tens of thousands of people. One of the videos was taken by student Eusida Blidgen, who should be commended for her actions as she continued to record despite being illegally told by an officer she must stop. Despite the police’s attempts to claim otherwise, it is legal to record the police in public.
Following protests and public outcry, the police announced that Michael T. McManus, the officer seen punching and kicking on the video, has been placed on paid administrative duty pending an investigation from the district attorney’s office.
The official police report greatly differs from the accounts of students and other witnesses who say the young man did not resist or attack police officers. Neither the district attorney nor the Boston police should be trusted to investigate this or any other incident of police misconduct, as they work hand-in-hand on a daily basis. Instead, there must be community control over the police through the creation of a civilian review board that is empowered to fire police officers.
Several protests have been held since the video went viral on YouTube. Several students at Roxbury Community College have taken a lead in organizing. Kieashia Hartfield, a junior, called for all of the officers involved to be fired, saying, “If they get to keep their job then that's just a slap in the face saying that they can do whatever they want to our people and get away with it.”
Student Government representative Tajudeen Akinbode pointed to the fact that this happened on a campus and in a neighborhood that is predominantly Black and Latino, noting, “This would not have happened at Boston University.”
Future actions will be organized as the students and others in the community have made it clear they will continue to raise their voices and fight back against all acts of racist police brutality.