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Video Allegedly Shows Police Officer Punching Harvard Student During Arrest

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – Video released by Cambridge Police shows the arrest of a Harvard University student that is currently under investigation. The video, which was submitted to police by a witness, allegedly shows an officer punching the man several times.

On Friday, a woman called 911 to say 21-year-old Selorm Ohene had thrown his clothes in her face. Six other people called police to report the man.

When officers arrived, they say Ohene was standing naked on a traffic island in the middle of Mass. Ave. People who were with him told police that Ohene had taken drugs that likely had a hallucinogenic effect.

The video shows police officers talking to Ohene for at least two minutes before an officer took him to the ground.

"Numerous attempts were made by the officers to calm down the male, but they were met with opposition and hostility," Commissioner Branville Bard said Monday.

Police say Ohene was clenching both fists and walking toward officers before the takedown.

"Once on the ground, the male continued to resist arrest," Bard said. "Three officers from the Cambridge Police Department and another officer from the Transit Police Department were required to gain compliance with the male."

The video, taken by an onlooker, allegedly shows an officer punching the man several times. Police say the use of force was used "in order to gain compliance from Ohene to avoid further injury to himself, the responding officers or any on-lookers."

Commissioner Bard said he stands by his officer's actions. "You have to judge their actions within the context of a rapidly evolving situation and not by this ideal construct," Bard said.

Ohene was taken to a hospital for evaluation and was charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, assault, resisting arrest, and assault and battery on ambulance personnel.

The department's Leadership and Professional Standards Unit will conduct an internal review of the arrest.

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