‘Help Me, Jesus!’ Shocking Video Shows Brutal Attack on Black Harvard University Student

Footage of a Cambridge police officer repeatedly striking a Black Harvard University student while fellow officers pinned him to the ground has sparked outrage among members of the campus community and beyond.

The violent encounter occurred Friday, April 14, as three Cambridge Officers and an MBTA Transit officer forced Selorm Ohene to the ground during his arrest, according to The Boston Globe. Officers were responding to a call from a woman who said a man had thrown his clothes in her face and six other reports of a “completely naked man” roaming the streets.

A woman who appeared to be Ohene’s acquaintance said the 21-year-old may have been high on drugs at the time, a police report stated.

In a video shot by a witness and later released by police, Ohene is standing on a median surrounded by three officers when he turns to approach one of them. That’s when one of the officers grabs his legs from behind, knocking him forward into another officer. Each of them falls to the pavement, after which another officer steps in to pin Ohene down.

“Help me, Jesus! Help me, Jesus!” the young man shouts as he struggles with police.

One of the officers is seen striking Ohene once, according to the footage. A separate video taken from the opposite side of the incident shows an officer delivering at least four quick and successive blows to Ohene’s body. A statement from Cambridge Police confirmed the assault, stating, “While on the ground, at least one officer repeatedly punched the student in his torso as he screamed for help.”

A spokesman for Mayor Marc C. McGovern said the mayor has seen the footage of Ohene’s arrest that was shared on social media.

“What’s shown on the video is disturbing,” McGovern said. “When confrontations can’t be averted and include the use of physical force, we must be willing to review our actions to ensure that our police officers are providing the highest level of safety for all.”

“Cambridge affirms that Black Lives Matter, but it must be true in practice as well,” he added.

Members of Harvard’s Black Law Students Association also expressed outrage over the incident and posted a statement on its website calling CPD’s version of events “incorrect” and an incident of police brutality.

“This victim of police violence happened to be a Harvard student,” the group wrote. “The University has ample resources that could have, and should have, been mobilized to come to the student’s aid prior to CPD getting involved. Harvard University Health Services were the first to be called for help prior to the arrival of CPD.”

“Instead of sending staff to support the student, HUHS transferred callers to CPD, who then responded as police often do whether cameras are rolling or not, by failing to appropriately respond to the individual needs of the person concerned and resorting to violence unnecessarily and with impunity,” they continued, noting a “pool of blood remained on the pavement” as the ambulance left the scene.

According to The Harvard Crimson, Ohene is charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, assault, resisting arrest and assault and battery on an ambulance personnel. A police reported stated that Ohene “…spat a mixture of blood and saliva at an EMT” as he was being transported to the hospital.

An arraignment date has not been set.

An investigation into the incident is underway and Mayor McGovern has promised to make its findings public.

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