After Boston’s annual naked bike ride, police break up gathering at Cambridge park, arrest 1

Police responded to a call reporting dozens of naked people near the docks at North Point Park in Cambridge Saturday night, officials said.

BOSTON -- World Naked Bike Ride Boston participant Nathaniel Imani prepares to ride off the Boston Common. According to the World Naked Bike Ride's website, the June 28, 2014 ride was meant to raise awareness for bike safety in Boston, Mass.
A World Naked Bike Ride participant on Boston Common in June 2014. –The Boston Globe, File

An impromptu after-party of an annual naked bike ride that’s drawn hundreds of bare-skin bicyclists to the streets of Greater Boston ended with a terse confrontation between bikers and police at a Cambridge park Saturday night that culminated with the arrest of a Dorchester man.

Massachusetts State Police broke up the gathering of World Naked Bike Ride participants at North Point Park, where several dozen riders, many of them not fully clothed, were on the docks aside the Charles River, according to a police report on file at Cambridge District Court.

Troopers arrested Michael Worrell, 37, who was among a group of people who did not immediately leave the scene when instructed, Trooper Ziad Kamel wrote in the report.

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The arrest was captured on video shared to Facebook, which depicts Kamel pointing a Taser at other park-goers who were yelling at troopers while Worrell struggled with police.

Worrell was ultimately charged with resisting arrest, trespassing, and disorderly conduct, files show.

At his arraignment Monday, he pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance, court documents indicate. Worrell was ordered to stay away from the park.

The cyclists were apparently kicking back after their 10th annual bike ride through the city, one of 75 similar events held in cities around the world.

According to Boston’s World Naked Bike Ride website, the event is a protest against “cyclist vulnerabilities on the roadway, oil dependence, and body shaming.”

“We also enjoy this unique opportunity to remind drivers just how much fun people on bicycles have,” the website says.

Saturday’s ride kicked off a 9-mile trek near the Stony Brook MBTA stop in Jamaica Plain, with pedals moving by 8 p.m., according to the World Naked Bike Ride Boston Facebook page. Organizers said in a post that despite the extreme heat over the weekend, the event went off without a hitch.

A planned after-party was scheduled at Flat Top Johnny’s in Cambridge, according to the website.

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However, state police responded to North Point Park shortly after Cambridge police received a call reporting “a group of approximately 30 people, all naked” with loud music playing near the dock area around 10:31 p.m., Jeremy Warnick, a spokesman for the Cambridge department, told Boston.com Monday.

“It appeared they were having a party,” Warnick said of the report in an email.

Cambridge authorities contacted state police to handle the call because the park is under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, he said.

Kamel wrote he arrived at the scene around 10:40 p.m. and told a large group of people to leave the park, which closes at dusk, according to DCR.

During a final check of the area, Kamel saw another 50 to 60 other people, and while some left, others did not, he wrote.

According to the report, Kamel saw a man, later identified as Worrell, “holding a cellphone in his hand recording without making any attempts to clear the park.”

“I informed him multiple times to clear the park and he may continue to record but he must clear the park at the same time,” he wrote.

Worrell began questioning him and became argumentative, according to Kamel, who said Worrell had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and was combative as troopers tried to take him into custody.

“While (another) trooper was attempting to place him in custody, I activated my (state police) issued Taser and issued him a laser warning while advising him not to resist,” Kamel wrote. “At that point, the large naked group became aggressive and agitated.”

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While troopers tried “to escort Worrell to my cruiser, the large naked group got hold of Worrell’s right foot and attempted to pull him out from custody,” Kamel continued, adding that he issued another warning with the Taser.

In video of Worrell’s arrest, other bystanders can be heard yelling expletives at the troopers.

Witnesses told Cambridge Day the police presence at one point included 20 vehicles. Some said the crowd size at the park was considerably smaller than what authorities described.

“There were so many cop cars,” Cheryl Browne, of Cambridge, told the Day. “How much backup do you need for naked people, who are obviously not armed?”

Before police arrived, the gathering was peaceful, according to Browne.

“And then suddenly, it’s like a riot,” she said.

State police spokesman David Procopio told Boston.com Monday that Kamel acted within his discretion by taking out the Taser and said that police were outnumbered amid “a hostile crowd.”

“It was a decision made by the trooper and it is within his responsibility and right to make that decision based on the situation around him,” Procopio said.

Worrell had to be pulled from the police cruiser at the barracks, according to Kamel, who wrote that Worrell kicked and spat at authorities. Worrell received “minor injuries to the left shoulder and to the right elbow,” while a police sergeant suffered a cut on his finger during the confrontation, Kamel wrote.

Peter O’Karma, an attorney representing Worrell, said statements made about his client in the report were “unfounded,” but declined to elaborate, citing the ongoing case.

“There are some significant discrepancies between the police report and the videos that emerged, and we’re confident that a jury will find in favor of the truth my client put forth and not what’s in the police report,” Karma said in an interview.

A request for comment from World Naked Bike Ride Boston was not immediately returned Monday afternoon.

Worrell is due back in court on Sept. 5.