Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley says a review of the arrest of a juvenile with outstanding warrants at Roxbury Community College last October shows police acted appropriately and used only enough force to bring the teen under control.
"It is my opinion that I saw nothing in the myriad of reviewed incident related materials rising to the level of excessive and therefore illegal force utilization," Gregory Connor, an independent expert on the use of force and now-retired professor emeritus of the University of Illinois Police Training Institute, who was hired by DA Dan Conley to review the case, said.
In a statement, Conley said the suspect, not named because of his age, "was resistant and assaultive" when officers tried to serve multiple warrants on him:
The investigation established that two Boston Police officers and one DYS apprehension officer approached the suspect, who was not an RCC student, at about 2:30 that afternoon as he walked through a campus administration building. When they attempted to remove his backpack and place him in handcuffs, he began to resist, grabbing hold of one end of the cuffs while an officer held the other end. The two struggled and the juvenile struck another officer just above the eye. The officers then brought the juvenile to the ground, where he struck his head on the grated floor.
At the point at which [the suspect] was prone on the ground and struggling with the officers, he had not yet been searched for weapons. Moreover, his backpack, which was within his reach, had not yet been examined. It was, therefore, entirely reasonable for the involved officers to fear for their safety as [the suspect] might have been armed with a weapon within his reach.
Additional officers responded to the arrest team's request for assistance. The evidence, including the video clips, established that the suspect continued to resist being handcuffed and would not allow his hands to be brought out from underneath his chest. One officer used a series of blows delivered from a shorter distance than a traditional punch as a distraction technique. The suspect continued to resist.
As more officers responded to a call for assistance, others took part in the arrest as well. Conley noted that one of them delivered a series of compliance and distraction strikes to the juvenile's leg, lower back, left side, and rib area. Though many of these strikes were ineffective, they were all consistent with the officers' training. They were delivered as the suspect refused to bring his hands out from under his torso and even kicked one officer off of his legs. Only one officer at a time employed strikes or blows.
The suspect assaulted officers during a lawful arrest and remained actively resistant when they attempted to take him into custody. These officers had a justified and reasonable fear that [the suspect] could have been armed with a weapon. The officers used a level of force proportional to [the suspect's] resistance and within Boston Police training and that of other police agencies nationwide. Therefore, no criminal charges against any police officers are warranted in connection with this case."