Wednesday, July 2, 2008

STUDENT DIES AFTER BOSTON POLICE ALLEGEDLY ABUSE HIM

Phil Leggiere, Don't Tase Me Bro - Citizens group is calling for an investigation, claiming 22-year-old Emmanuel College student David Woodman, on the way home from a bar after celebrating the Celtics NBA championship, was tackled and beaten into a comatose state by eight officers on a street corner after saying "Wow, it seems like there's a lot of crime on this corner", eventually dying from his injuries. The Boston police department is insisting that no excessive force was used against Woodman who was holding only a plastic beer cup.

The Boston Globe reports: "Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis vowed this afternoon that there would be a thorough and transparent investigation of the arrest of David Woodman on last month, but said an initial review found that officers acted appropriately. The 22-year-old man stopped breathing while in custody during the June 18 celebration of the Boston Celtics NBA championship and died on Sunday."

"It appears from the evidence we have reviewed thus far that officers did not use excessive force," Davis said during a 10-minute press conference at police headquarters. "No [pepper] spray or batons were used in this incident."

Howard Friedman, a Boston lawyer who represents the Woodmans, said this afternoon that he has asked the US Attorney's office to have the FBI investigate. The family has scheduled a press conference later this afternoon.

Woodman's parents told the Globe that their son did not receive prompt medical attention while lying unconscious, face down on Brookline Avenue with his hands cuffed behind his back. They also accused police of failing to give them a full account of what happened. . .

David Woodman, who was charged with drinking in public and resisting arrest, remained hospitalized after the incident and awoke June 23 from a medically induced coma. His parents said he recognized them but had difficulty communicating and whispered, "What happened?"

He smiled at a Globe reporter during a brief visit Thursday, spoke softly to his parents, and appeared confused. A large scrape was visible near his right eye. On Saturday, he was asking to go home, according to his parents, who believed he would survive and face lengthy rehabilitation.

At 2:30 a.m. Sunday he died at the hospital. The family is awaiting autopsy results. . .

David Woodman, who had been a history major at Emmanuel College and planned to return in the fall after taking a semester off, was walking from a bar with friends after the game when they passed about 10 or 12 uniformed officers at the corner of the Fenway and Brookline Avenue, according to two friends who spoke on the condition they not be named.

According to one of the friends, as Woodman passed the officers, he said, "Wow, it seems like there's a lot of crime on this corner." Officers grabbed Woodman, who was carrying a plastic cup of beer, and as they struggled to handcuff him pushed him face down onto the ground, according to Woodman's friend.

"He wasn't being a punk or anything like that," said the friend. "I don't understand why the officers used such brute force to arrest him." Woodman's friends said an officer yelled at them to leave, saying they would be arrested if they didn't.

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