Mary Celeste Holmes of Roxbury charges Transit Police officers violated her civil rights when she complained about the way they were allegedly manhandling an elderly woman at the Dudley T station and they responded by using pepper spray on her, beating her with a baton and smacking her phone out of her hands as she was on the line with 911.
In a suit filed today in US District Court in Boston, her attorneys at the ACLU of Massachusetts are seeking damages for alleged First and Fourth Amendment violations and for false arrest for an incident on March 26 of last year.
According to the complaint, Holmes arrived at the station to see a T cop "screaming and swearing at an elderly woman."
Ms. Holmes saw Defendant Garvey suddenly put her hands on Ms. Williams [the elderly woman] and slam her down on a bench.
Concerned about the rough treatment she saw, Holmes first asked Williams to cooperate, but after one of the cops allegedly slammed the woman back down on a bench, she asked the cop doing the slamming to stop "screaming and swearing" at the woman.
In response to this request, Defendant Garvey told Ms. Holmes to "shut the fuck up.”
Concerned that Defendant Garvey's behavior was unsafe and unlawful, Ms. Holmes once again asked her to stop using excessive and unnecessary force.
When Defendant Garvey did not stop, Ms. Holmes asked for the officer's badge number and informed her that she was going to call 9-1-1. Ms. Holmes then made the call. 20. Once Ms. Holmes said that she was going to call 9-1-1, Defendant Garvey began advancing towards her, while screaming and swearing at her. Ms. Holmes backed up, but Defendant Garvey continued to pursue her. Ms. Holmes looked at Defendant Trinh. She told him that she was backing away but that his partner continued to pursue her. She repeated this statement several times.
While backing away, Ms. Holmes was connected to 9-1-1. She informed the responder that her name was Mary Holmes and that she needed officers to come to Dudley Station.
As Ms. Holmes was on the phone to 9-1-1, Defendant Garvey sprayed Ms. Holmes' face with pepper spray.
Defendant Trinh then came over to join Defendant Garvey. The Defendants hit the phone out of her hand, which smashed on the ground and disconnected the 9-1-1 call.
Defendant Garvey pulled out her metal baton and struck Ms. Holmes' shin three to four times while Defendants Garvey and Trinh grabbed and held both of Ms. Holmes' arms.
Defendants Garvey and Trinh kicked her legs out from under her.
Defendants Garvey and Trinh forced Ms. Holmes onto the ground and slammed her head on the curb.
Defendants Garvey and Trinh handcuffed Ms. Holmes' arms behind her back and continued to press her head into the curb until other officers arrived.
In the complaint, Holmes says she required several stitches for her injuries and that she was eventually charged with assault and battery on a public employee and had several visits from the state Department of Children and Families.
Prosecutors declined to go forward with the criminal case and DCF found she was not an unfit parent, the complaint continues.
Because the complaint was filed today, the T has yet to answer it.