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Boston Mayor Defends Officer's Actions As Police Investigate Arrest Video

This article is more than 4 years old.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Tuesday said he doesn't believe video of an arrest shows a city police officer choking a handcuffed suspect, as the Boston Police Department investigates the incident.

A young male is seen in the video shouting profanities at police. He's then escorted by a plainsclothes officer to a cruiser, where the officer instructs a uniformed officer to arrest the male for disorderly conduct. The male is placed in handcuffs and continues to shout profanities as the two officers attempt to get him inside the cruiser. The uniformed officer places his hands on the suspect's neck during the attempt to get him in the cruiser.

Walsh said he saw the video, and it did not appear to him that the officer was choking the suspect.

"He was trying to get the young man into the car, there was no choking there," Walsh said. "If there was, [the suspect] wouldn't be able to speak. I think there has to be a little bit of respect on behalf of the police here."

Boston police are investigating the incident. An undated video posted to YouTube Monday prompted the inquiry. The video can be seen on YouTube here. (Editor's Note: The video contains explicit language.)

Rahsaan Hall, director of the Racial Justice Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts, condemned the arrest and told The Boston Globe it "appears that the officer has no basis to even arrest this young man."

“He’s engaging in protected speech, as unsavory as it may be," he said.

Boston police said they do not know the source of the video, and no officers have been barred from duty during the investigation.

Walsh also said he thinks people should be able to tape police interactions, but that they should also give police space to do their work.

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