Monday, April 16, 2018

Cops Take Down Naked Black Harvard Student; Mayor Upset

The mayor of a Massachusetts city is calling a video that shows a police officer punch an out of control naked black Harvard University student several times while he’s pinned to the ground “disturbing,” reports the New York Post.

Naked black Harvard students matter?

Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern said in a statement Sunday that the police department has assured him the altercation on the video is being investigated. McGovern said, “Cambridge affirms that Black Lives Matter, but it must be true in practice as well.”

Police say officers were called Friday night after receiving reports of a naked man standing on a traffic island. Police say the man resisted arrest once on the ground and the officer struck the man to gain compliance.

The man, Selorm Ohene, was arrested on charges including indecent exposure, disorderly conduct and assault.

Ohene is an undergraduate Math Major at Harvard and a tutoring assistant in the Math department.

-Robert Wenzel  


  1. I know we libertarians take a hard look at police action, but I would ask, would a private security officer do any different? If you have to remove a (likely) crazed man from someone's property, and he resists, do you not punch/taze/spray?

    Using force on NAP violators is okay, even when police do it.

    1. I’ll give the police the benefit of the doubt when they STOP STEALING MY MONEY.

    2. Stop being so tempting to steal from.

    3. The difference with a private security officer is that he would be personally liable for over-use of force -- no "qualified immunity" -- and thus may approach things differently than our heroes in blue, who don't have to worry about this.

      More broadly, though, under the NAP, the state cannot legitimately own property, and thus agents of the state have no right to remove someone from so-called "public property" (assuming that's what this street was).

    4. Oh yes, agreed. My original thought game is based on the assumption that the NAP is violated (by the nudist) and the subduing of the violating individual is required. Even in a PPS, violence similar to the above is often necessary. Yes, a private force may approach it differently, or may not. I don't think the punches are unreasonable (or a NAP-violating over use of force) regardless of the puncher's employer.

      Let's say the above happened on private property, with a private guard in a PPS. Would a private court find the guard liable for damages? I don't think so. The punches were a good alternative to crushing/sitting on him, tasing him, or spraying him (my God, I'd rather be punched multiple times than any of those...especially spray...). It may be more likely that the guard gets reimbursed for the scuffed knuckles!

  2. The problem for me with government policing is the "submit or die" attitude. There is obviously something wrong with this guy, yet he wasn't armed and they could have just laid on him until he tired himself out. In my mind, the arrest procedure should not be about revenge or getting your aggression out because someone resisted you. Too often it's about power and control. I don't believe a private security agency would handle this in the same manner.
    Police training needs to emphasize deescalation and not the escalation of situations.
    The idea should be to do as little harm as possible but the police view is pain compliance followed by death. The entire viewpoint of modern policing violates the NAP, IMO.

    1. I understand your thought. I used to be a cop, prior to a Damascus road experience featuring Rothbard and his acolyte Tom Woods.

      The thing is, even as a government force, we didn't have the attitude you described. We we're specifically trained (I'm in Virginia) on deescalation and minimal use of force.

      From my experience, in order to most safely (for everyone) gain compliance over a crazed individual, such as the one we see above, pain is sometimes necessary. A few punches to the side are far preferable to losing control of him and (in a worst case scenario) absolutely having to use deadly force to prevent others from getting seriously harmed.

      I stand by it: no matter the employer, a person charged with subduing another must often use pain and violence to get the job done with minimal damage. I think this is one of those cases.

      But I agree, Rick, the object should be to do as little hard as possible. Good news is that is actually a pretty popular sentiment in police forces (at least in the ones I've worked and dealt with). Lots of libertarian leaning and minarchists among them too. Let's not paint with too broad a brush!

  3. Protip: when you come across someone who is naked in public, they're generally high on PCP and thus MUCH stronger than usual. I'm no fan of the cops, but they used the necessary level of force to gain compliance.

  4. I would be interested to see some figures comparing the number of people who are attacked by naked people on drugs every year to the number of people who are attacked by cop every year.