“Dude, dude, dude, I fuckin’ drove down Tremont—there was an unmarked state police cruiser they were all gathered around,” the sergeant said laughing. “So then I had a fucker keep coming, fucking running,” he continues. “I’m fucking hitting people with the car, did you hear me, I was like, ‘get the fuck—’” It wasn’t until another officer warned the sergeant that the camera was on that the sergeant changed 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 said in an attempt to change the narration. “My windows were closed, the shit was coming in.”
According to Boston.com, the footage is from a May 31 protest in Boston where more than 50 people were arrested and at least 18 bystanders were hospitalized. The video was provided to The Appeal by Carl Williams, an attorney representing some of the protesters arrested during the protest that followed the death of George Floyd. According to The Appeal, Williams received more than 40 videos, about 70 hours of body camera footage, as part of a discovery file.
“I have placed a Sergeant involved in this incident on administrative leave and I will take any additional action as necessary at the conclusion of the investigation,” Boston Police Commissioner William Goss said in a statement on Friday after the footage was shared publicly. “I want to encourage people to bring these matters to our attention so that we can investigate them appropriately.”
But the sergeant in question wasn’t the only one who used excessive force or talked about abusing protesters. The footage also depicted another officer who forcefully hit a Black woman with his baton despite her hands being up. Additionally, another unidentified member of the force could be heard talking about his use of pepper spray on protesters. “I’ve used two of these already—I’ve got a little left, I want to hit this kid,” the officer said.
The extensive body camera footage continues, depicting similar dialogue in which officers are clearly abusing their position in power. Prior to the release of the footage, officers were praised by the commissioner for their ability to protect Boston amid these protests. “No one is going to take over our city and burn it to the ground,” Gross said the day after the May 31 protests, according to Boston.com.
In a conversation with CNN, Williams expressed that the narrative officers have shared of the night is not the full scope of what happened and that these videos depict that truth.
“Protesters, activists, organizers, Black Lives Matters folks were like, ‘The police attacked us, and they used weapons, and they used advanced weapons and chemical weapons,'” Williams said.
The shared footage sheds light on the importance of officers wearing bodycams at all times while on duty. “We never want to see police officers using more force than necessary, even when tensions are high,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement. “These types of situations are also exactly why we are implementing body worn cameras for all police officers, and why we convened a police reform task force committed to bringing necessary reforms and accountability to the police department.”