A Boston man bit an officer’s thumb, police say

James Turner, 31, was being booked on other charges at the time of the incident.

Drugs officers recovered from Turner.
The drugs officers allegedly recovered from Turner. –Boston Police Department

A Boston man was charged with assault and battery on a police officer Tuesday after allegedly biting an officer’s thumb while being booked on other charges related to drug distribution and resisting arrest.

Police said when officers asked 31-year-old James Turner to explain his behavior, he said, “He got too close so I bit him.”

Prior to Turner’s arrest, officers were conducting a drug investigation at Chinatown Park—a location known for “high drug activity,” according to police—in the area of Surface Road and Essex Street. While canvassing the area, officers spotted a man later determined to be Turner “twirling a plastic bag containing what [they] believed to be illegal drugs,” police said.

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When officers approached Turner for questioning, he allegedly stuffed several small individually wrapped plastic bags, “believed to be heroin,” into his mouth. Authorities were able to recover two of the bags: one on the ground and the other in Turner’s hand.

Once officers attempted to take Turner into custody, “the suspect began to physically resist and fight with the officers,” the department said.

At the station, police said Turner continued to “disrespect and disparage the officers,” including spitting at several of them. According to police, he then bit the thumb of one of the arresting officers, who was treated for a nonlife-threatening injury.

Turner was charged with possession with intent to distribute a Class A drug (heroin) and trafficking a Class B drug (crack cocaine), resisting arrest, and assault and battery on a police officer. A plastic bag recovered at the booking desk contained about “29 small plastic baggies” of crack cocaine, police said.