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Boston police officer captured on body cam bragging about ‘hitting’ protestors with his car

A Boston police officer has been captured on video bragging about hitting protesters with a car during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in the summer. 

The uniformed sergeant, who has not been named, was on duty during the racial justice march on the evening of May 31 and morning of June 1 when he approaches an officer wearing a camera.

The white officer, who is wearing riot gear, is seen excitedly describing how he got into an unmarked police vehicle near Boston Common that was surrounded by protesters. 

‘I’m f***ing hitting people with the car,’ he says, laughing. 

He is abruptly cut off by his colleague walking away before he returns and says ‘it’s on’, appearing to refer to the camera. 

The officer backtracks and says: ‘Oh no no no… I didn’t hit anybody, just driving, that’s all.’ 

His colleague apologizes and replies: ‘This thing just f***ing went on automatically.’  

The officer who made the comment has been placed on leave and the Boston Police Department and the Suffolk district attorney’s office have opened investigations into police actions.

The unnamed Boston Police sergeant is captured on a colleague’s body cam on June 1 bragging about driving a car into protesters during a Black Lives Matter protest in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The video was one of several leaked to a lawyer representing some protesters

The officer wearing the body cam swings away when he realizes that the video is running, cutting the officer off, before walking back and saying 'it's on', appearing to refer to the camera

The officer wearing the body cam swings away when he realizes that the video is running, cutting the officer off, before walking back and saying ‘it’s on’, appearing to refer to the camera

The uniformed officer then backtracks and says he 'didn't hit anybody'

The uniformed officer then backtracks and says he ‘didn’t hit anybody’

The officer, who has not yet been named, has been placed on leave whilst an investigation is carried out into a series of body cam videos taken that night, including officers beating people with batons and using pepper spray

The officer, who has not yet been named, has been placed on leave whilst an investigation is carried out into a series of body cam videos taken that night, including officers beating people with batons and using pepper spray

Around 44 body cam videos were released from that night, including officers attacking protestors with pepper spray and batons. Pictured here is a screenshot from one of the videos showing police engaging with demonstrators

Around 44 body cam videos were released from that night, including officers attacking protestors with pepper spray and batons. Pictured here is a screenshot from one of the videos showing police engaging with demonstrators

The footage was given to attorney Carl Williams, who is representing some protesters arrested that night, as part of a discovery file encompassing 44 videos and over 66 hours. Williams assembled a team of volunteer lawyers and law students to pore over the videos and found multiple incidents of police brutality captured by police body cams, like the screen shot above which shows police holding protestors back in central Boston

The footage was given to attorney Carl Williams, who is representing some protesters arrested that night, as part of a discovery file encompassing 44 videos and over 66 hours. Williams assembled a team of volunteer lawyers and law students to pore over the videos and found multiple incidents of police brutality captured by police body cams, like the screen shot above which shows police holding protestors back in central Boston

The footage was taken from one of 44 body cam videos, featuring 66 hours of video, released from that night.

They show officers beating crowds with batons, pepper spraying at close range and using foul language.

Thousands of people had attended a series of peaceful rallies in the East Coast city during the day on May 31, in response to the recent killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other black Americans at the hands of police. 

By night, however, some demonstrators had turned violent, looting shops, burning a police cruiser, throwing missiles at police, with officers out in force, according to the Boston Globe. At the time police said that 53 people had been arrested. 

In turn, some protesters described how the police turned the city into a ‘war zone’ by barricading them in and attacking peaceful attendees. 

Many officers wore body cameras. During the unrest, the cameras recorded hours of footage that the department subsequently stored. 

The footage was released to attorney Carl Williams, who is representing some of the protestors arrested, pro-bono through The National Lawyers Guild.

Attorney Carl Williams, who is representing some protesters arrested, released the videos given to him during discovery. He called the police a 'mob'

Attorney Carl Williams, who is representing some protesters arrested, released the videos given to him during discovery. He called the police a ‘mob’

The adjunct professor at Cornell Law released them via The Appeal on December 18, saying that it demonstrated the police’s ‘mob mentality’.

He said: ‘…I use “mob” as a sort of a double entendre – mob like the mafia and mob like a group of a pack of wild people roaming the streets looking to attack people.’ 

He added: ‘This is not law enforcement. That’s not what they’re doing right there in the streets, ganging up on people using weaponry.’

‘And they’re enjoying it,’ he added.  

In another video an officer wearing a camera says: ‘We gotta start spraying more’, as reported in The Appeal. 

‘You out?’ he asks another police officer offscreen, holding up a can of pepper spray. ‘I got a little left.’

‘I want to hit this a**hole,’ he says, gesturing toward the young man being pushed back

‘I’ve used two of these already—I’ve got a little left, I want to hit this kid.’ 

During the day on May 31, several peaceful protests were held in Boston, Massachusetts,  in response to the death of George Floyd

During the day on May 31, several peaceful protests were held in Boston, Massachusetts,  in response to the death of George Floyd

Demonstrators in Boston were pictured surrounding police cars at times as they waved banners

Demonstrators in Boston were pictured surrounding police cars at times as they waved banners

Police were captured on video, as well as in press photos, shooting pepper spray toward protesters during the May 31 demonstration in Boston

Police were captured on video, as well as in press photos, shooting pepper spray toward protesters during the May 31 demonstration in Boston

Some demonstrators, pictured here in Boston on May 31 raising their hands during the protest, were hit by imposed curfews to prevent fresh rioting

Some demonstrators, pictured here in Boston on May 31 raising their hands during the protest, were hit by imposed curfews to prevent fresh rioting

Some demonstrators, pictured here on Boston Common with a burning trash can, turned violent at night, attacking police cars and looting shops

Some demonstrators, pictured here on Boston Common with a burning trash can, turned violent at night, attacking police cars and looting shops

In videos released to The Appeal many officers are seen using batons to beat crowds. Some protesters have claimed that officers targeted peaceful people and discussed arrest quotas

In videos released to The Appeal many officers are seen using batons to beat crowds. Some protesters have claimed that officers targeted peaceful people and discussed arrest quotas

A demonstrator walks in front of a Boston police car that has been lit on fire in response to the recent death of George Floyd. Protests were largely peaceful but day but turned violent in some areas at night

A demonstrator walks in front of a Boston police car that has been lit on fire in response to the recent death of George Floyd. Protests were largely peaceful but day but turned violent in some areas at night

Boston Police Commissioner William J Gross said on Friday that the Bureau of Professional Standards had opened an investigation.

Boston Police Commissioner William J Gross has opened an investigation into the footage

Boston Police Commissioner William J Gross has opened an investigation into the footage

‘I have placed a Sergeant involved in this incident on administrative leave and I will take any additional action as necessary at the conclusion of the investigation’, he added.   

Mayor Martin Walsh called the videos ‘difficult to watch’.   

On Friday Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey called for a full investigation into the incidents which she called ‘disturbing and inexcusable’.

In a statement she said: ‘This callous behavior further stresses the importance of advancing police reform in our state, particularly when it comes to use of force standards and accountability. We need a full investigation into what happened that night to hold accountable anyone who acted unlawfully.’  

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said that the videos had been sent to her special prosecution team.

BODY CAM TRANSCRIPT

In the clip released to The Appeal the officer approaches a colleague and says: ‘Dude, dude, dude, I f***in’ drove down Tremont—there was an unmarked state police cruiser they were all gathered around.’

He continues: ‘So then I had a f***er keep coming, f***ing running. I’m f***ing hitting people with the car, did you hear me, I was like, ‘get the f***—”

At this point the officer behind the camera walks off.

He comes back a few seconds later, saying, ‘it’s on,’ about the camera.

The sergeant changes his story.

‘Oh, no no no no no, what I’m saying is, though, that they were in front, like, I didn’t hit anybody, like, just driving, that’s all,’ he says.

‘My windows were closed, the s**t was coming in.’

The officer wearing the body came then apologizes and says: ‘This thing just f***ing went on automatically,’.  


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