Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-01-09
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWPOINT Another Black Harvard man arrested
by Rev. Irene Monroe
2018-04-25

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


I reside in Cambridge. And, the last time an unarmed Black Harvard man in Cambridge was arrested, it made the news. It was when renowned Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was mistakenly taken to be an unknown Black man breaking and entering into someone's home—it happened to be his own—in 2009. It was a story that went viral internationally, leaving a pox on the city.

This recent arrest of an unarmed Black Harvard man may go viral internationally, too, because the student is from Ghana and the Cambridge Police Department ( CPD ) prides itself in 2018 since the Gates arrest of being woke.

On April 13, Selorm Ohene, 21, was charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, assault, resisting arrest, and assault and battery on ambulance personnel. The one incontrovertible fact all disputing parties—CPD officers, Harvard Black Law Students Association ( BLSA ), and eyewitnesses—can agree on is that Ohene was in crisis as he stood naked on a traffic island in the middle of Massachusetts Avenue near Waterhouse across from Harvard-Epworth United Methodist Church.

A call to Harvard University Health Services ( HUHS ) was transferred immediately to the Cambridge Police Department ( CPD ) and not the Harvard University Police Department- a piece of the puzzle still awaiting a response.

How and why a pool of Ohene's blood remained on the pavement as an ambulance transported him to a nearby hospital for evaluation fits sadly into the broader and disturbing narrative of America's culture of police violence and brutality, systemic violation of Black men's civil rights and their bodily autonomy.

The appropriate use of force is always in dispute when police contest Black men's compliance, and their safety during the incident. And usually, the outcome is fatal. With Ohene, some say he's lucky because, the outcome was a physical altercation and not his death.

Ohene was pummeled with punches repeatedly to his torso. The CPD report depicts Ohene as wildly combative that three officers from Cambridge Police and another officer from Transit Police were the needed enforcement to gain compliance, place him in handcuffs and "avoid further injury to himself."

"Numerous attempts made by officers to calm the male down were met with opposition and his hostility escalated while officers attempted to speak with him," a CPD official put out in a tweet. "After he was observed clinching both of his fists and started taking steps towards officers attempting to engage with the male, officers made the tactical decision to grab his legs and bring him to the ground."

However, since CPD officers did not "adhere to their stated commitment to using body cameras" and they obstructed bystanders and the BLSA members efforts videotaping the incident transparency of their intentions, actions and of the entire incident from beginning to end will always leave doubt about that evening. And in recalling the event, the BLSA offered a counter-narrative that suggest the CPD officers had no understanding or schooling in trauma-informed training, crisis intervention training, mental health training, and de-escalation techniques. And if these officers did, it all went out of the window immediately seeing a Black male.

"He was surrounded by at least four Cambridge Police Department ( CPD ) officers who, without provocation, lunged at him, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. While on the ground, at least one officer repeatedly punched the student in his torso as he screamed for help," the BLSA statement reads.

Racial profiling immediately comes to mind when we hear of an incident with white police involving Black and brown males. And with Ohene, a Harvard student, you wonder if he were a white student standing naked and obviously in distress along Cambridge Common in Harvard Square would he had been so dehumanized and humiliated.

On reporting the Cambridge incident, The Grio, the largest online news source of Black America, stated that both "The Boston and Cambridge Police Departments are no different than those in the rest of the country. According to the ACLU, 63% of police stops in Boston between 2007 and 2010 targeted Black residents, even though Black residents make up less than 25% of the population. As of 2015, the Boston Police Department ( BPD ) had spent approximately $36 million to settle lawsuits, most of which were tied to wrongful convictions and police misconduct."

While 30 onlookers were stunned and emotionally troubled by the police handling of Ohene, the use of force against him, according to Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville G. Bard Jr., was an appropriate tactical decision within police procedure.

However, many Cambridge residents, especially those of African descent, are not pleased with Bard's handling of and public responses to the incident.

"In a rapidly-evolving situation, as this was, the officers primary objective is to neutralize an incident to ensure the safety of the involved party( ies ), officers, and members of the public," Bard wrote. "To prevent the altercation from extending and leading to further injuries, particularly since the location of the engagement was next to a busy street with oncoming traffic, the officers utilized their discretion and struck the individual in the mid-section to gain his compliance and place him in handcuffs."

With just eight months under his belt, Bard, who is African-American, is CPD's new commissioner and is an expert in the study of ending racial profiling. Bard holds a doctorate in public administration from Valdosta State University, and a leadership certificate from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. His doctoral studies had a focus on racial profiling, racially biased policing, immigration, the Bill of Rights and public policy, and Bard's the author of a 2014 book, Racial Profiling: Towards Simplicity and Eradication. Bard promises a cultural shift within the police force under his watch.

After Gates arrest, Cambridge City Hall released a report to the public entitled "Missed Opportunities, Shared Responsibilities." One of the findings in the report is that "When police believe they are not in physical danger, they generally should deescalate tensions … [which] can be a tool for helping to reduce danger by calming a person who is upset or unstable."

Had the arresting officers read this report along with employing the appropriate training techniques Ohene could have been helped—without five blows to the torso and a pool of his blood left on the pavement.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

WORLD Israel medical group, India's ban, Chechnya detention 2019-01-15 - Members who perform conversion therapy could now be expelled from the Israel Medical Association ( IMA )—which represents 90 percent of the country's ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Trans murder, U.S. House rules, N.C. loses business 2019-01-15 - The first transgender death of 2019 has occurred, as Dana Martin, 31, was fatally shot in Montgomery, Alabama, on Jan. 6, The Advocate ...


Gay News

Pro-LGBT groups laud N.Y. measures 2019-01-15 - On Jan. 15, the New York legislature passed two pro-LGBTQ bills—the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act ( GENDA ) and a law banning so-called ...


Gay News

Deadline looms for LGBT community-needs survey 2019-01-15 - Members of the Chicago region's LGBT community have until the end of the month to take part in an extensive survey measuring the ...


Gay News

Deportation protest at Gary/Chicago Airport Jan. 18 2019-01-15 - A coalition of social justice, immigration advocacy, anti-capitalist and left-wing organizations will be gathering at the Gary/Chicago International Airport to peacefully protest deportation ...


Gay News

Anti-bullying laws including sexual orientation associated with fewer suicides 2019-01-15 - Sexual minority youth have a higher prevalence of bullying and attempted suicide than non-sexual minority youth. New research from the Williams Institute at ...


Gay News

Seventeen-year-old charged with 2018 Stanton murder according to reports 2019-01-13 - A 17-year-old has been charged with the murder of Dejanany Stanton, a transgender Chicagoan who was killed this past August. The alleged assailant, ...


Gay News

LGBTQ, allied groups urge investigation after second death at home of Ed Buck 2019-01-10 - Today, 41 LGBTQ and allied organizations ( listed below ) released the following statement to demand a thorough investigation by Los Angeles County ...


Gay News

Young Women's March Rally, Jan. 19, Federal Plaza 2019-01-09 - CHICAGO - Young women, femmes, non-binary folks, and allies of all ages are coming together for a rally in Chicago to stand in ...


Gay News

National Black Justice Coalition Demands Justice for Victims of Ed Buck 2019-01-09 - WASHINGTON, DC— This week, another young Black man died in the home of Ed Buck, a wealthy Democratic donor who was previously investigated ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.