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police violence

Police repeatedly punched a black Harvard student during an indecent exposure arrest

Cambridge, Massachusetts, police tackled and repeatedly punched a black Harvard student in the stomach while arresting him Friday night. The encounter was filmed by a bystander, and the police department has begun an internal investigation.

The student, identified as 21-year-old Selorm Ohene, a math major, was standing nude in the middle of a street, reportedly having a negative experience with hallucinogenic drugs. Several people called the police, and when the cops arrived, they spoke with Ohene — visibly unarmed and not in a normal state of mind — for just two minutes before slamming him to the ground. One officer has admitted to punching him five times in the stomach.

Ohene was taken to the hospital and charged with disorderly conduct, indecent exposure, resisting arrest, and assault. Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville G. Bard Jr. has defended the officers' actions, saying they made "numerous attempts" to calm Ohene but decided to take him down after "he was observed clenching his fists and moving towards officers."

The Harvard Black Law Students Association reports a "pool of blood" was left on the street after Ohene's arrest. "We demand that the officers who assaulted this man while he was naked, fully subdued, and bleeding on the ground be investigated and held accountable," the group said in a statement.

Ohene was still hospitalized as of Monday night. Watch the video of his arrest below. Bonnie Kristian