A Boston police officer has been reassigned to administrative duty after video of the officer's confrontation on the MBTA bus with a woman accused of theft stirred controversy, ultimately resulting in the "fair and thorough" investigation that is now ongoing. The unidentified officer in the video was in pursuit of the purported suspect after a nearby vendor tipped him off to her recent theft, according to the Boston Globe.
"[The officer]’s on a bus giving her lawful orders to cease her behavior and she’s assaulting him,” Transit Police Lieutenant Richard Sullivan said in a statement. “He obviously felt threatened. All that woman had to do was behave as a responsible citizen and engage peacefully." However, eyewitness accounts tell a very different, and far more infuriating, story:
“He ran up to her, and began barking in her face,” [Nino] Brown said in a telephone interview Saturday. “He didn’t do anything to de-escalate the situation or calm her down. He escalated the situation.”
“I was scared,” Brown said. “Everyone was shaken up.”
Brown said about five officers boarded the bus, with their hands on their guns, and restrained the woman.
“It seemed unnecessary,” Brown said. “How many adult men does it take to bring down one woman?"
Brown, who filmed the footage that's been circulating since the incident took place on Friday, is a 24-year-old organizer associated with the activist group Mass Action Against Police Brutality. The woman in the video, who was ultimately arrested on charges of "larceny," is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges soon. The officer, though not identified, is predictably described by Lieutenant Sullivan as a "veteran police officer, who is well-respected in the department."