BOSTON (WHDH) - Boston police officers made several arrests Thursday in direct response to an attack on a correction officer that happened hours earlier in the same area.
Fifteen people were taken into custody along Atkinson Street while others were given shelter or medical attention as officers conducted “Operation Clean Sweep,” an order handed to them by Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Police Commissioner William Gross.
City leaders looked to send a strong message that drug use, sleeping on streets, and violence will not be tolerated.
“They just corralled us all on the street in between a whole bunch of police officers on that end and a whole bunch on this end,” one man said. “They told us we couldn’t leave until they started checking us all out and finding out if we had warrants and stuff like that.”
Witnesses say that the area is known for severe homelessness and drug addiction problems and characterize the night’s actions as merely for show.
The correction officer, identified in court documents as Sabat Tejeda, was arriving at work and sitting in his car on Atkinson Street around 7:30 a.m. when someone reached through his rolled down window and struck him, according to the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department.
Officials say Tejeda was just a block away from the jail when a man started exchanging words with him.
Surveillance video from a nearby business showed Tejeda exit his vehicle before he was swarmed, jumped and brutally beaten.
Tejeda told responding officers that one of the five attackers struck him several times with a metal pipe before they stole his watch, glasses, and phone, according to the Boston Police Department.
Police arrested Torre Jenkins, 45, in connection to the assault after he allegedly tried taking off with Tejeda’s car.
Jenkins was arraigned Friday in Roxbury District Court on a slew of charges including breaking and entering of a motor vehicle and attempted larceny of a motor vehicle.
He was ordered held on $750 bail, and to stay away from the victim, the sheriff’s department, and the crime scene.
None of the individuals who were arrested have been charged in connection with the assault.
In a statement, Correction Officers Local 419 denounced the criminal act, saying the “area has become a haven for crime, clearly without recourse, and is based on the neglect from the city.”
The union went on to label the incident a “quality of life issue” and called upon the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office to “make a stand” in prosecuting those responsible for the attack.
Tejeda received medical treatment for his injuries and was released hours after the attack.
Later in the evening, cleaners were brought in and instructed to remove needles and trash that had been strewn in the roadway.
Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins has called for an emergency meeting with Walsh and Gross to discuss “immediate and long-term solutions to bring about safeguards for our tsaff and the people of Newmarket Square as we also continue to look for more and improved delivery of services to fight the scourge of addiction and homelessness.”
An investigation is ongoing.
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