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Community-center worker refused to let cops in to help another officer struggling to subdue a suspect, police say

Police say that officers initially had to watch through the locked doors of a Roxbury community center as another officer struggled to contain a suspect in a gun case after they both fell down a flight of stairs - because a community-center worker refused to buzz them in.

Police say the incident started when drug-unit officers with a search warrant spotted a kid they wanted in connection with a gun case spotted him and and a pal on Estabrook Road in Roxbury yesterday. They followed them until they entered the Dewitt Community Center at 122 Dewitt Dr. off Ruggles Street.

Following behind the individuals, officers were buzzed into the community center after identifying themselves as police officers. Once inside, officers quickly asked the front desk staffer to help them in locating the two suspects. After being directed to an upstairs classroom, officers located and observed both suspects sitting in the classroom. After alerting the proctor of their intentions, the officers waited in the hallway as the suspects made their way towards them. However, as soon as the suspects exited the classroom, both attempted to flee the scene while pushing and physically assaulting the officers. While one of the suspects was subdued in the hallway, the other suspect bolted towards the stairwell leading to the first-floor exit.

As the second officer gave chase and attempted to apprehend the suspect, a physical altercation ensued causing both the officer and suspect to tumble and fall down the stairs leading to the first floor. As the officer struggled to subdue and maintain control of the suspect, the suspect repeatedly kicked the officer in the face and upper body. As the altercation spilled into the main lobby of the building, responding officers, forced to watch the altercation through the community center’s glass doors, were unable to gain entry and provide support to the struggling officer because a front desk staffer refused to let them in. Eventually, officers did gain entry and were able to help subdue the suspect. A search of the suspect’s backpack enabled officers to see and seize a loaded firearm described as a Chiappa .22 caliber Revolver.

The officers outside, who eventually got in, confronted the staffer:

When asked to explain the delay in allowing responding officers to enter the building, the front desk staffer stated that she had been reprimanded by a supervisor who took issue with her decision to allow officers inside building in the first place.

The 16-year-old was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, carrying a firearm on a public way, assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest, police say. His companion, 15, was charged with assault and battery on a police officer and interfering with police officers, police say.

The officer who fell down the stairs and a second officer were taken to a local hospital for treatment.

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Comments

Bad decision not to let them in, but no matter what choice the person made, they were going to lose their job.

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is who should lose their job. (And potentially be charged with obstruction).

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The person(s) who refuse to let the offices it should be charged with failing to obey instructions of a police officer, and as accessories to the crime

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it doesn't make them accessories. c.268 sec 24-25 is a a misdemeanor, max sentence is $50 and 30 days. The real concern is liability for safety. There was a unregistered firearm in community center full of children. This was a complex situation.

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The fact that the community center worker deliberately and wantonly refused to let a police officer in so that he could help the other cop who was struggling to subdue wanted suspect in a gun case indicates a total lack of responsibility here. That does make him/her an accessory to the crime, contrary to what you or anybody else may say or think. What the community worker did by refusing to let the other police officer into the building so that he could help the cop who was struggling to subdue a nasty suspect was put the cop who was struggling to subdue a suspect in danger, and she deserves to lose her job.

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I think the mitigating factor here is that the worker claims she was verbally punished for allowing initial entry and was following the supervisor's (WRONG) directive upon the second request.

Instead of charges, this seems to me to be a perfect time to bring the BPD and the admin staff of the community center together and do a root cause analysis, re-educate admins and retrain staff, and make the policies and procedures clear to all.

The front desk staffer was placed in an untenable position by the supervisor (where was the supv. while this was going on?).

When something like this fails in hospitals, it's called a "never event" or sentinel event. Instead of punishing individuals, it's seen as a red flag that multiple system failures occurred, and that everything needs to be examined so that all of the necessary corrections to assure safety are put in place.

I hope the injured officers make full and rapid recoveries, and I'm relieved that one more gun is removed from doing harm.

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to be charged as an accessory the person must have knowledge that a felony will be, is or has been committed.

https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter274

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A gross obstruction of justice. The person(s) who refused to let the police officers into the building is an accessory to the crime, deliberately and knowingly disobeyed the instructions of a police officer, thus putting the officer inside who was struggling with the violent suspect in danger, should be tried, charged with, jailed for his/her crimes, and deserves to lose her job.

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There is no accessory to misdemeanor. The person would have knowledge that they were assisting a person in commission of a felony. The community center itself is in big trouble, but this person was caught in the middle. They can be charged with a misdemeanor.

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The supervisor thought it was preferable to have kids with guns inside the community center rather than have the police safeguard the other kids who were there????

Sounds like someone who’s not capable enough to be in a position of authority.

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should police be allowed into any space they want, just by virtue of being police officers?

i get that an ongoing altercation changes the dynamic, but in general terms it's not that out of the question to deny police officers entry in the absence of a warrant.

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It's long been established by courts that the police and other first responders are exempt from getting a warrant if there is an active crime in progress (or other immediate safety concern) or if they are following a suspect.

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Context of the situation is paramount. I readily admit that I believe police often engage in extra judicial conduct but certainly not in this case. They were in active pursuit of a suspect believed to have or was engaged in criminal activity. The had reason suspicion & probably cause.

This was not a civil matter or a follow up investigation but an actual crime in progress. Neither the front desk person or the supervisor had any knowledge of what had or was transpiring. Theyhad a duty to accommodate the POs request. There is plenty of time ex post facto to incident to question civil rights but not in the middle of any incident.

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Should that have been sufficient to require letting the first group of officers in? May depend on what the warrant exactly said.

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It's long established case law that a police officer never ceases to be a citizen and can go anywhere a civilian can go. This story is unclear but if they knew they had probable cause for arrest, the doctrine of "fresh and continued pursuit" allows them to break down a door and go anywhere where the suspect is, without a warrant.

The second part of this story of the officer being actively assaulted invokes "exigent circumstances" where the courts have always held that no warrant is needed when an assault is in progress, whether a cop or battered wife or anyone else.

Months or years later at trial, it's always more comfortable to show a warrant to a jury but most judges will instruct the jury when a warrant isn't needed and police were on firm legal ground to enter without a warrant. Little known fact, an arrest warrant, even for a traffic violation, becomes a warrant to enter if the officer "in fact" knows the wanted person is inside. A lot of this stuff is on the Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain exam.

State law is interesting, for example an Amherst officer (or any other town) could legally chase a car to Boston if he/she had an arrestable offense in Amherst and kick down the door in Boston, if fresh and continued pursuit. The city/town police authority has "electricity" if an arrestable offense is established in the officer's city or town. It gets complicated when they cross state lines but there is a process.

*BostonDog is correct in his comment, sorry I didn't see it at first.

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struggling to subdue a suspect, and clearly needed help. The community center worker who refused to let the other police officer into the building, in order to help the other police officer(s) subdue the suspect was totally in the wrong, and s/he should either be suspended without pay, or lose his/her job, altogether. Refusing to let the police officer into the building was a totally irresponsible decision.

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It seems likely either the supervisor or the desk person had a hostility or fear of police. I understand why this fear exists in the black community. But I also see white liberals on my social media saying never call the cops or help the cops because you are liable to get a black person killed. There may be some jurisdictions where that is true, but it's not true in Boston. This is what acting on that belief might look like and it's not pretty.

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Urban teen and community centers have recently not wanted police on the property for various reasons, and I can understand a lot of them. Kids don't want to feel like they are being watched, and often times when things are stolen from these places (happens a lot) the workers there don't want to see these teens get prosecuted for the crimes so they want to handle it internally and just take the loss. If there is a fist fight or something where police would normally be called, they are called only if there is a weapon or it really gets out of control.

This goes for a lot of schools as well, especially on the national stage.

This case is different though. The front desk worker either didn't understand the difference between the police being there without being invited, or was actually part of the crime and didn't want to see their friend get caught. Either way they were in the wrong but will not get prosecuted unless it can be proven that they had knowledge of the firearm being in the building.

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crime, and are willing to put up with the fact that things get stolen, or whatever, that doesn't speak well for the workers, and it just encourages kids to continue to commit these crimes.

Whether people like the cops or not, the cops are needed. Nobody's arguing that enough cops abuse their power, and need to be brought to justice and disciplined for it, and permanently dismissed from the job, if need be, but if workers are willing to take the loss when things get stolen from these community centers in order to protect the kids who perpetrate these kind of crimes, then it bodes no good, either for the cops, or the community as a whole.

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Thank God it wasn’t Weymouth 2.0. Lock him up

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Sadly the Ferguson effect, where a fake police brutality case was spread through the Obama White House and dutiful news media, has made our officers timid.

If they had an arrestable offense when they were buzzed in or if the backup officers "not buzzed in" knew an officer was being assaulted, I would take the door right down. Case law backs this 100% on the doctrine of "fresh and continued pursuit" and "exigent circumstances." Take the door down by whatever means necessary. I've done it and even liberal judges backed me every time.

Staff member and supervisor should be charged as accessories and interfering in a police investigation. Let a jury decide. Awful. God Bless the officers who were hurt.

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The Dewitt is operated by the Madison Park Community Development Corp, not the City of Boston.

Any city community center that I have been at has plenty of police in and out all the time, some in uniform, and some in street clothes on their own time coaching the sports teams or just tossing the ball with them.

Completely different approach.

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If Jane Doe or Officer Smith raps at the door and you let her or him in, there is no difference, The best arrests come when a good cop says "hello, I am officer Tim (insert name) may I take a look around and pat you down for my safety?" "May I talk to you?" Almost all will say yes.

I used to make them sign an official card, waiving rights and giving me permission. The card came in handy at trial, in one case a murder (life in prison).

As for this situation, "fresh and continued pursuit"and officer being beaten "exigent circumstances" case law clearly allowed for door to be taken right down. I hope young officers are not being taught otherwise and not afraid. Take the door down. Now.

"Deception, ruse and trickery" also allowed under MA law so you could appear as the pizza delivery (police) man, UPS driver etc. and be fully within the law.

On a side note before any left-wing backlash, common on this site, I am all for civil rights and warrants but fresh and continued pursuit and officer being beaten are legal solid ground, "terra firma" for officer to go right inside, decided by our MA liberal judges, not me. I hope Commissioner Gross (good guy) stresses this at the academy.

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In Newton several years ago: Cops pursuing someone using a computer in the library to issue terroristic bomb threats towards Brandeis University, threatening to kill people on that campus. Library refuses to let the cops INTO A PUBLIC LIBRARY in order to halt an act of terrorism which possibly was in progress. Mayor of Newton praises library staff for obstructing justice and calls it "our finest hour".

Now, In Roxbury: Cops pursuing someone scuffling with another police officer inside a community center. Community Center staff refuses to let cops in, and NOW it's a problem. For some reason, the Mayor of Boston does not lavish praise upon the defiant gatekeeper at the Community Center. Mayor of Newton would have given the CC staffer the damn key to the city.

What's wrong with this picture?

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Just another page in the tale of eroding society and dilution of behavior .

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Both scenarios are equally stupid....and irresponsible, to boot.

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