State Trooper Stephen Kavol justifies repeatedly punching "pope" Alexander Serra
The Massachusetts State Police Trooper Stephen Kavol, who repeatedly punched "Pope" Alexander Serra, was the same officer who first encountered Serra in the South End of Boston. Trooper Kavol was one of the two officers who first cornered Serra on foot on I90. From WBZ:
Video from WBZ's helicopter showed Serra running away from his car on the highway shirtless. Moments later, he dropped to the ground. One trooper pulled his gun, while a second punched him repeatedly. link
Police said everything about the pursuit and arrest will be reviewed, including the use of force.
Do we have reason to believe the MA state police can provide an impartial review that would hold officers accountable for violations of state police policy or civil rights? In fact, isn't the US Attorney responsible for reviewing civil rights violations by policemen in the Commonwealth? From WBZ:
"Police generally do not pursue individuals who are wanted for misdemeanor crimes," [criminologist Thomas Nolan, a former Boston police officer] said.
Watching the video, Nolan said the driver, 29-year-old Alejandro Serra, was not wanted on a felony as he jumped out and started to run, only to be stopped by troopers, one of them punching him several times.
"Unless this individual is determined, without doubt, to be an extremely dangerous individual, there's no real reason to have 10 or 12 police officers for, at best, a misdemeanor crime."
State Police are being criticized for the hot pursuit.
Officer Stephen Kavol is being criticized for punching the suspect repeatedly when it appears the suspect had surrendered.
Serra was arrested by Officer Kavol for "fail to stop". Here's the arrest report PDF.
"I struck him with a closed fist to overcome his resistance to arrest." - Trooper Stephen Kavol