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Transit Police to train cops not to beat passengers who speak out, under settlement with woman beaten at Dudley station

The ACLU of Massachusetts and the MBTA today announced a settlement of a lawsuit over the beating, pepper spraying and arrest of Mary Celeste Holmes at the Dudley Square T stop after she publicly complained about the way officers were treating another woman there in 2014.

Among the steps agreed to by both sides: Transit Police officers will receive four hours of aggression-management training, their supervisors will enhance their systems for monitoring and acting on possibly aggressive activity and the T will make it easier for people to file complaints about officers.

Holmes also got an unspecified monetary payment.

In a joint statement, the two sides write:

"Our client is satisfied with this outcome and hopes that the improvements to MBTA monitoring and training will help ensure that others won't experience what she experienced," said Jessie Rossman, staff attorney at the ACLU of
Massachusetts.

"Prior to the resolution of this matter, our department took significant steps to improve monitoring and training and we will continue to ensure that all of our officers engage the public in a professional manner," said Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green.

Holmes sued the T in 2015 over a March 26, 2014 incident at the T stop in which she objected to the way T cops were manhandling an elderly woman. Two two cops responded by hitting her with a baton, spraying her with pepper spray and smacking her phone out of her hands as she was talking to a Transit Police dispatcher. She had her hands placed behind her back and was handcuffed.

One of the two cops, the one who wielded the baton and who had a history of complaints, was fired because of her role in attacking Holmes.

Holmes's original complaint (144k PDF).
Statement by the ACLU and Transit Police.

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Comments

The Transit Police beat and falsely arrest a female passenger and the penalty is one officer looses her job while others including supervisors receive a slap in the wrist and have to attend anger management classes. Why hasn't the Governor and Attorney General demanded that criminal charges be brought against all the officers involved in this clear cut case of police brutality.

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Thanks for jogging my memory:

MBTA cop indicted for allegedly beating and pepper spraying woman at Dudley T stop, then lying about it.

I'll check tomorrow to see what the status of the case is. She was indicted in January, 2016, which means it's possible, if the case is still pending, she hasn't come to trial yet.

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Do you really believe that people who come to your website for news read the news that comes from your website.

For the meat of the matter, I'm glad the Transit Cops are going to get the training the seem to need. It's sad that a woman had to get beaten for absolutely no reason for the change to happen.

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Still no mention of Holmes' brother being a state rep. So much more to this story not coming out.

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She was pepper sprayed and beaten with a baton.

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Seems to me that it's a relevant part of the story. Or, at least it makes the story more interesting. Leads me to wonder whether the punishment of the officer and rebuke of the police would have been as strong if the victim wasn't connected.

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Although if you follow anything having to do with the T, you soon realize the T is the honey badger of Boston - once it puts its mind to something, it just don't care what anybody says. Probably of more importance to this case was that the incident was captured on the T's own (very, very extensive) surveillance system - as somebody else mentioned, would this case have gotten this far without that video?

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Mandatory body cameras for all Transit Officers. I'm sure that Chief Green and General Manager Shortsleeve can order their police to wear them.

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The incident was caught on camera. Don't see where that would have made a difference.

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The incident was caught on camera.

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Body cameras might not have made a difference here, but what about other incidents that aren't already caught on security cameras?

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Cameras in the stations and on the buses. You're talking about such a small percentage of Transit Policing, yet such an expensive cost, on the T's (our) dime for said small percentage.

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Even in and around stations there are plenty of places out of view of a camera.

And not all vehicles have cameras yet. Most of the trains still don't.

I will happily have my tax dollars contribute to buying body cameras for police.

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