BOSTON (AP) — Boston police and prosecutors are investigating after body camera footage surfaced that shows officers pushing protesters, pepper-spraying crowds and one officer talking about hitting protesters with a police vehicle.
A sergeant has been placed on administrative leave after the leak of the footage captured during Boston demonstrations in May after the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.
The Boston protests on May 31 were mostly peaceful until nighttime, when vandalism was reported. A total of 53 people were arrested, 18 bystanders were hospitalized and nine officers were treated for injuries, Boston.com reported.
The videos posted Friday by The Appeal, an online news outlet, show officers pushing nonviolent demonstrators to the ground, spraying pepper spray on people and into crowds, and one officer saying he may have hit people with a car.
An attorney for the protesters has requested the video.
Police Commissioner William Gross said in a statement that he ordered an investigation as soon as the videos were brought to his attention.
“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,” Gross said. “I want to encourage people to bring these matters to our attention so that we can investigate them appropriately.”
Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement that the footage is difficult to watch and that he hopes to get answers through the investigation.
“We never want to see police officers using more force than necessary, even when tensions are high," he said.
A spokesperson for Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said she is also investigating.