A Boston policeman accused of shoving a group of high school students, using the n-word and calling them “monkeys” has been suspended.
Officer Joseph Lynch is on administrative leaving pending an investigation into the alleged misconduct, a department spokesman said Friday. The case is under review by the department’s division of internal affairs.
According to The Boston Globe, the incident unfolded Sept. 13 as Lynch was responding to a call about of group of disruptive teens at a local McDonald’s in the city’s Hyde Park neighborhood. The youths, all 9th and 10th graders from Roxbury Prep High School, had gathered at the popular fast food joint before classes Friday but were asked to leave after becoming too rowdy.
When the students didn’t leave quickly enough, someone called police.
Rafaela Martinez, whose son was among those at the restaurant, recalled what the students told her had happened.
“The police officer [Lynch] was asking them to leave, but then he changed his attitude and started pushing the kids, and using bad language towards them,” Martinez told the Globe.
That’s when the students said Lynch followed them up the street to school, hurling racial slurs at them and calling them monkeys.
Martinez said the students may have been confrontational with the officer, but said at the end of they day, “they’re still kids.”
“For me as a mom, I’m seeing both sides,” she added. “The kids were really loud, up in his face trying to record him. The police officer is still a human being. Sometimes we just have a bad day.”
Last week, Police Commissioner William Gross and Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins stopped by Roxbury Prep to apologize and speak to students about the incident. While he didn’t want to sully the integrity of the department’s investigation, Gross said he was sorry the students had a “negative interaction” that might’ve caused them to be distrustful of police.
After speaking with students, Rollins said the teens left the incident feeling “attacked, racialized and dehumanized.”
“We have to wait and see what the investigation shows, but the allegations are hate-filled and fuel distrust of law enforcement,” she added.
According to the outlet, Roxbury Prep has five campuses across the city, including three middle schools and two high schools, where the student body is predominately Black and Latino.
School spokeswoman Barbara Martinez said the school appreciated Gross and Rollins’ visit.
“Numerous students and staff have come forward to express deep concerns about the officer’s behavior, both in terms of his actions and language,” she told the Globe. “The entire Roxbury Prep community — students, families, administrators, faculty, and staff — are shocked and deeply upset by what occurred.”