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Keller @ Large: Conflicting Perceptions Of Boston Protests

BOSTON (CBS) - Hundreds of protesters upset with the grand jury's decision in Ferguson, Missouri took to the streets of Boston Tuesday night.

The demonstration was relatively trouble-free. But as Jon Keller reports, police and some demonstrators have conflicting perceptions of how well officers handled the situation.

Most of the men and women arrested during the protests had their criminal charges converted to civil infractions and resolved on Wednesday. The legal case against most of the protesters may be over, but the dispute over how Tuesday night went down is not. While the protests were mostly peaceful, there were some tense moments when police blocked access to several highway ramps.

Boston protests
Police hold back protesters from I-93 ramp in Boston. (WBZ-TV)

"Even when we were getting pushed at that line and being insulted and everything, our officers stood tall," Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said at a press conference Wednesday.

Boston's top cop says things went smoothly despite aggression from a few protesters. "They were getting pushed, they were getting knocked down, they showed tremendous restraint and thank God none of them were hurt," Evans said.

But protester Tiffany Diaz, sporting fresh bruises on her arm and cheek, says police at times created problems with their tactics.

"He slammed my head into the ground and had his knee on my face," Diaz said. "I turned around and attempted to maneuver my way out of the situation, and that's when I got pulled by my hair into it."

"I think they handle inciting their own idea of riot and then letting it go," she said.

Commissioner Evans says, "No one handles a crowd better than the Boston Police anywhere in this country."

"I don't think that this was a great way to handle the situation," Diaz said.

Keller says he spoke to Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson, who represents Roxbury and parts of several other neighborhoods. He was right in the middle of the protests and says that while there was some "unfortunate" pushing, he didn't see anything excessive, and he says he's "proud of both sides" for showing restraint.


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