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University of Massachusetts Amherst Student Sues Police for Assault, False Arrest

Thomas Donovan has filed a Massachusetts police violence lawsuit against three police officers. He claims that they assaulted and falsely arrested him because he videotaped law enforcement officers last year during the Blarney Blowout, which is a large off-campus party that celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. At the 2014 event, police officers wore riot gear, shooting some 600 rounds of pepper and sting balls at revelers to keep order when there were disturbances.

According to the Massachusetts personal injury case, Donovan claims that he recorded Amherst cops using what seemed like too much force when making the arrest. Even though he shot the footage at a distance from behind a fence, Donovan contends that an officer in full riot gear and armed with a pepper-ball gun went after him. He said that when he did not stop filming, another police officer shot him with pepper spray at close range. When he still would not stop, a third police officer kicked the phone from Donovan’s hand and threw him down before arresting him. Police then allegedly repeatedly stomped on the phone to break it.

The three defendants are Amherst police Andrew Hulse and Jesus Arocho, and John Does 1 and 2. Hulse and Arocho are the ones who arrested Donovan. The plaintiff believes that the arrest report, filed by Arocho, falsely states that Donovan approached the cops that were making an arrest and disregarded orders to get out of the area. He also disputes that the reason that he was paper sprayed was because he went near the officers.

The criminal charges against Donovan have since been dropped. However, because of his arrest, UMass suspended him for a semester. That punishment wasn’t lifted until its own probe cleared him of wrongdoing.

Donovan wants a jury trial and punitive damages.

Police should refrain from using unnecessary and excessive force always. When failure to do so results in injuries or death, there may be grounds for a Massachusetts police brutality case. Excessive use of or unnecessary force is a violation of one’s civil rights.

Contact our Boston personal injury lawyers today.

UMass student sues Amherst police officers who arrested him for videotaping officers at Blarney Blowout, MassLive, February 5, 2015

UMass student files civil rights lawsuit against Amherst police after Blarney Blowout arrest, FoxNews/AP, February 25, 2015

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