SOMERVILLE, MASS. (WHDH) - Officials on Thursday released a video that shows a Somerville police officer allegedly pepper-spraying a handcuffed man in his custody.
Michael McGrath is off the job and facing charges including assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, court documents indicate.
McGrath responded to a reported disturbance at a home in the city on Oct. 1, 2019, and pepper-sprayed a man who had been taken into custody, even though he did not pose a threat, a criminal complaint alleges.
An incident report filed by McGrath stated that the suspect resisted arrest but video from a police transport vehicle showed the victim being sprayed while already in restraints, according to authorities.
Officers are seen putting him in a transport van, and when the man turns his head toward an officer, McGrath pepper sprays him.
The other officers back away and McGrath pushes the man into the van before slamming the door.
Inside the van, the man is handcuffed and visibly in distress after being pepper-sprayed.
After several minutes he slumps down and rests his face on the floor of the vehicle.
McGrath was initially placed on paid administrative leave but his pay was revoked after investigators reviewed the video and filed charges in connection with the incident last month.
Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone says he was angered by what he witnessed in the video.
“It’s not a proud moment for my department, and I know I speak for the overwhelming majority of the department, this does not represent them,” he said.
Curtatone added he and the Somerville police chief are in agreement that McGrath’s alleged actions are “unacceptable.”
McGrath is slated to be arraigned in November.
An investigation remains ongoing.
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