Suffolk DA: No excessive force used in videotaped Roxbury Community College arrest

The Suffolk district attorney has ruled that an arrest at Roxbury Community College captured on videotape in October in which a 16-year-old was struck repeatedly by officers was a lawful arrest and that the officers involved will face no criminal charges.

“Like many others who saw them, I was initially disturbed by the video clips of the Oct. 22 arrest,’’ said District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, while reading from prepared remarks at a press conference today at his office in downtown Boston.

“But here as elsewhere, context is everything. The suspect was wanted for escaping incarceration for a violent offense. He reacted with disproportionately assaultive behavior when officers tried to remove his backpack and take him into custody. … And based on training, experience, and common sense, a reasonable officer could believe that he had or might attempt to use a weapon.’’


Video footage of the arrest inside the lobby of the college shot by civilians on cellphones captured several officers striking the youth, who authorities said is 6-feet-1 and weighs 165 pounds, and who violently resisted when officers first tried to place him in handcuffs.

The incident angered many community members, who felt the force used was excessive.

At today’s press conference, Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said in prepared remarks that the arresting officers followed training methods for restraining violent suspects that had been taught to them at the police academy.

He said that since the incident, the department has developed several initiatives in response to recommendations from an outside consultant who reviewed training practices.

They include updating the terminology regarding use of force regulations, continuing to demonstrate the use of force curriculum for reporters and community members, developing “e-learning modules’’ for multiple officer arrest scenarios, and charging a special department board with reviewing use of force options for police, as well as firearm discharges.

“Boston police officers are called upon to respond when people are in trouble,’’ Davis said. “Officers routinely encounter the most challenging, volatile and chaotic of situations. … Our challenge and complex responsibility is to resolve those situations in the most peaceful and reasonable manner possible, but sometimes enforcement action is unavoidable.’’


Globe correspondent Jaime Lutz contributed to this report.

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