Bodycam Video Shows ‘Mob Mentality’ Of Boston Police Who Responded To George Floyd Protests, Lawyer Says
https://theappeal.org/bodycam-video-sho ... wyer-says/
As demonstrations against police brutality and abuse of Black Americans spread across Boston on the night of May 31 and early morning of June 1, the city’s police department was out in force.
Many officers wore body cameras. During the unrest, the cameras recorded hours of footage that the department subsequently stored.
That footage was given to attorney Carl Williams, who is representing some protesters arrested that night, as part of a discovery file encompassing 44 videos and over 66 hours of footage. Williams assembled a team of volunteer lawyers and law students to pore over the videos to find exculpatory evidence for his clients. What they found, however, was something more.
The hours of video, given exclusively to The Appeal by Williams, show police officers bragging about attacking protesters, targeting nonviolent demonstrators for violence and possible arrest, discussing arrest quotas and the use of cars as weapons, and multiple instances of excessive force and liberal use of pepper spray.
“It’s this mob mentality,” Williams said of the police behavior. “And I use ‘mob’ as a sort of a double entendre—mob like the mafia and mob like a group of a pack of wild people roaming the streets looking to attack people.”
The Appeal shared sections of the footage with Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, who said that in her view, police behavior in the videos is indicative of the very issues that demonstrators were marching to bring attention to.
“I have not watched the entire video, but the snippets that I have seen are incredibly troubling,” said Rollins, adding that she has sent the clips to her special prosecution team.
The officers appear enthusiastic about using the chemical weapon and unconcerned with whether to arrest demonstrators. In one clip, timed at 1:52 a.m., officers advancing on a crowd are pushing one young man standing with his hands raised.
“We gotta start spraying more,” the officer wearing camera X81417350 says.
“You out?” he asks another police officer offscreen, holding up a can of pepper spray. “I got a little left.”
“I want to hit this dadhole,” he says, gesturing toward the young man being pushed back. “I’ve used two of these already—I’ve got a little left, I want to hit this kid.”
The officers also appear to target certain demonstrators for violence. In one clip from 1:26 a.m. near the Common, a group of officers on bikes react strongly when a demonstrator kicks a tear gas canister back at them.
“Let’s get this ****,” says the officer behind camera X8141668. “Let’s get him, lock him up.”
In another clip, a sergeant approaches the officer behind camera X81331058 and begins telling him about using a police vehicle to attack demonstrators.
“Dude, dude, dude, I ****’ drove down Tremont—there was an unmarked state police cruiser they were all gathered around,” says the sergeant, laughing.
“So then I had a **** keep coming, **** running,” he continues. “I’m **** hitting people with the car, did you hear me, I was like, ‘get the ****—'”
At this point the officer behind the camera pushes the sergeant’s head away and walks off in the other direction. He comes back a few seconds later, saying, “it’s on,” about the camera.
The sergeant quickly changes his story.
“Oh, no no no no no, what I’m saying is, though, that they were in front, like, I didn’t hit anybody, like, just driving, that’s all,” he says. “My windows were closed, the **** was coming in.”