Update, 1:09 pm: The officer in question is apparently named Rance Cooley, and he has a history of using excessive force, as well as lying in court to get convictions when he has insufficient evidence. More details here.
Second Update, 2:44 pm: According to Animals as Leaders’ management, Cooley was NOT the arresting officer at the scene. Original story follows…
Well, this is totally awful.
Animals as Leaders were scheduled to support Thrice in Toronto earlier this week, but had to disappoint fans and bow out. The reason? Co-guitarist Javier Reyes (above) had to be in court in Boston for an arrest that took place earlier in week… an arrest that was apparently both completely unlawful and totally abusive.
After the jump is the message Reyes posted on AAL’s Facebook page, including a description of the event written by a friend who witnessed the incident. Most of the names of the involved parties have been witheld, although Vince noted that at one point the officer is named as “Cooley.” Anyone know a Cooley in the Boston PD?
Javier Reyes here. I would like to personally apologize for canceling the Toronto show last night. I can explain. After the Boston show on May 26th, I was unlawfully arrested by the Boston Police Department. I had to return to Boston on May 30th for court. As much as we had looked forward to playing Toronto again, there was nothing I could do other than cancel the show and return to Boston to avoid having an arrest warrant filed against me.
I have included a complaint letter a friend/witness has written and sent to the Boston Police. It explains in more detail about the appalling and absurd encounter that occurred that evening. Again, to all our fans in Toronto, I am truly sorry for cancelling the show.
WRITTEN BY JESSICA BLANK2
Upon leaving The Tam in Boston, Massachusetts, on Saturday, May 27th, 2012, around 1:30 am, DUSTIN BLANK1 was playing “air-guitar” to a song, which was playing in the bar, as we all ‹‹exited onto the sidewalk. There was another civilian (white male, unrelated to our party) to our right, off the sidewalk, whom police were talking to.
After walking past the civilian whom police were talking to, Officer BLANK forcefully shoved BLANK1, from behind, and informed him that he was interfering with a police investigation. Confused and startled, BLANK1 turned around and asked what Officer BLANK was talking about. Officer BLANK then grabbed BLANK1 by the throat and slammed him against a wall, then turned him around to handcuff and arrest him.
Meanwhile, JAVIER REYES pulled out his cell phone and informed the officers that he was recording the arrest. Immediately, Officer BLANK turned around from arresting BLANK1 and hit Reyes’s cell phone from his hands (both hands were holding the cell phone) onto the ground, breaking the cell phone. Next, Officer BLANK grabs Reyes and shoved him face first into a wall and handcuffs him. Neither BLANK1 nor Reyes, in any way, resisted arrest.
Friend, TOSIN ABASI, concerned about how quickly things had escalated, asked an officer what was going on and why BLANK1 and Reyes were being arrested. Officer BLANK then shoves Abasi into the side of the police cruiser and asks him if he is trying to assault an officer. Officer BLANK asks this question while both of Abasi’s hands are in his pockets. Abasi denied attempting to assault an officer, pointed out that his hands were in his pockets, and admitted that he was only asking a question.
Worried about my friends and feeling shocked about what I had just witnessed, I, JESSICA BLANK2, announced that I did not feel safe. An officer replied to me by saying “Then call the police.” Surprised by this disrespectful sarcasm, I responded, “You are the police.” Another response came, “Then call 911.” Again, I responded, “You are 911.” Officer BLANK chimed in saying that I had quite the mouth on me for a lady and to “get out of here.”
To avoid further mistreatment, we all (Jessica Harvey, Tosin Abasi, MICHAEL BLANK3, JESSIKA BLANK4, THOMAS BLANK5, and LAUREN BLANK6) moved to the corner of the block. Distressed from all of the chaos, abuse, and false accusations made by the Boston Police Department, BLANK6 dropped to the ground and had an epileptic seizure. A by-stander, who informed us he is certified in First Aid, offers to help. He placed both of his hands under her head, not restricting any movement, to cushion her head from the cement section of the sidewalk. Officer BLANK7 pushed the by-stander away and informed him that if he continued to help, he could be sued if BLANK6 got hurt. The by-stander understood and again stated that he was certified in First Aid and just wanted to help BLANK6. Cooley was very aggressive in his approach to this outside medical help.
Upset and frustrated, Abasi began speaking to BLANK7 about his concerns for BLANK6’s health and safety, which was in danger due to the actions we all witnessed, while using some swearing language. Officer BLANK7 continuously criticized Abasi from his choice of language instead of listening to Abasi’s concerns about his friends.
BLANK6 had a seizure because of this highly stressful situation. She was approached by EMS and had to continuously deny care before the paramedic would leave her alone.
Reyes had the right to videotape the public arrest of BLANK1 as we were in a public location, on the sidewalk, after exiting The Tam. Officer BLANK violated Reyes’s rights by forcing the videotaping to end by his physical actions. Reyes phone screen is completely shattered; Officer BLANK unlawfully destroyed Reyes’s property in order to stop the recording of BLANK1 arrest.
I feel incredibly disrespected by Officer BLANK (and his fellow officers) by the words he said to me and his actions toward my friends who I witnessed and believe were not interfering with the previous situation.
I was a witness of all accounts mentioned in this complaint and demand the Boston Police Department to review Officer BLANK’s performance, and demand that action be taken against him in order to make things lawfully right. I request that all officers at the scene, who were involved with the arrest and detainment of BLANK1 and Reyes, to be interrogated, but most specifically Officer BLANK. BLANK1 and Reyes were physically assaulted by Officer BLANK, who received no physical contact, resistance, or retaliation from either subject.
It is to my understanding that Reyes is being charged with assault and battery of a police officer while the only assault and battery present was done by Officer
BLANK and his partners in this unlawful arrest. Reyes made no physical contact with anyone present at the scene.
Please review my eye-witness report of this event. I am completely unsatisfied at how the Boston Police Department handled this situation. All officers were very unprofessional and disrespectful to my friends and me. Service and protection were not present in any way during our encounter with the Boston Police Department.
Totally nightmarish. Of course the officers involved probably have their own version of events — but I really don’t see any reason why Reyes and company would lie about this. And it’s not as though the Boston PD didn’t already have a reputation for being dicks — although this is some next-level abuse of power, to be sure. Hopefully justice is served, Reyes is let off the hook, and these cops get their asses handed to them.