Body camera footage released from Emerson College arrests

Boston Police Officers line up outside of the Emerson College Little Building on Thursday. Photo by Jack Reiber.

By Madison Lucchesi

The Boston Police Department (BPD) released the body camera footage from before the arrests made at Emerson College early this morning. Police officers arrested 118 people from the 2 Boylston Place Alleyway.*

In body camera footage received from BPD Sergeant Detective John Boyle, students linked arms across the top of the alleyway while chanting, “We keep us safe.”

At 1:34 AM, an officer told the students, “We don’t want to arrest anybody.” He continued, “I want you to be able to peacefully do this. However, with a popular street, I can’t have that.” He then asked the students to make an opening in the alleyway and reiterated these points.

“We don’t want anyone to get hurt,” he told the protesters. He referenced numerous noise complaints and that the officers were supposed to “come down” around 10 PM. 

After the officer spoke to the students, he made himself available for questions and protesters resumed chanting. “When Emerson is under attack,” a protester yelled into a bullhorn. “Stand up, fight back,” the other protesters responded. 

Protesters shouted “Free, Free Palestine” before officers read a city ordinance over a van loudspeaker at 1:36 AM. The police officers cited the Boston City Ordinance that prohibits unlawful camping on public property in the public right of way. Police officers restated the ordinance closer to the protesters at 1:38 AM. 

At 1:45 AM, police officers entered the alleyway and began making arrests. With protesters still linked together, officers pulled them apart and put many on the ground to arrest them, as shown in social media videos. 

At 1:29 PM Emerson College added the Boylston Place Alley to the list of areas on campus where demonstrations are prohibited, effective immediately and through the weekend. According to the email sent to the community, the Alley will have enhanced security presence at this time.  

Many arrested protesters are still waiting for a court date. 

*Article has been edited to reflect updated reports of 118 arrested, not 108 as previously reported.