Massachusetts

2 Newton Officers Attacked By Suspect, 1 Knocked Unconscious, Police Department Says

The suspect's roommates, who say they were inside the Watertown Street apartment when this unfolded, say the Newton Police Department's account of what happened is "not accurate."

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Two veteran police officers were allegedly attacked Saturday night after they responded to a 911 call at an apartment building in Newton, Massachusetts, leaving one of them temporarily unconscious.

Newton police held a press conference Sunday evening, alongside the mayor, addressing what they say happened, but their account was later disputed by two roommates who say they were at the Watertown Street apartment when this all unfolded. The roommates told NBC10 Boston they have a very different account of what went down, though police maintain that it was their officers who were brutally assaulted.

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According to the Newton Police Department, the officers had received a domestic violence call around 10 p.m. and were able to intervene on arrival, however they then became the target of the suspect.

As the officers tried to arrest the person, police say "the assaultive, out of control suspect" ran into an apartment and began fighting the officers once they followed into a bedroom.

Chief John Carmichael said the suspect was up on a bed shouting at the officers that they were not going to be allowed to take him into custody, and a violent struggle ensued. It went from the bed to the floor, and a coffee table was broken in the process.

During the struggle, police allege the suspect forcefully tried to take one of the cops' guns and punched both of them in the head. One officer was allegedly hit so violently that the assault rendered them unconscious for a moment.

"This individual was obviously not prepared to be taken into custody, and was willing to actively assault our officers during that arrest," Carmichael said of the suspect.

The officers were able to get handcuffs on the suspect, at which point the violent assault allegedly continued. According to the police chief, the suspect assaulted one of the officers while he had handcuffs on and still was able to reach and got ahold of one of cops' weapons, trying to remove it from the holster, and set off the emergency button on the portable radio.

Both officers were taken to Newton Wellesley Hospital and released overnight. According to the police chief, one of the officers suffered a concussion after being punched several times. The cops are said to be "sore but recovering," and the department is wishing them a quick recovery.

"Our thoughts right now are with them in their recovery, as well as with the victim that was involved in this case who was also assaulted," Carmichael said.

The suspect's name is not being released because it is tied to a domestic violence case, however, the man is known to police. According to Carmichael, the suspect has a history with assault and battery on police officers, as well as some other violent acts.

The suspect will be in court Monday morning to face a number of charges, including two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, two counts of attempting to disarm a police officer and resisting arrest, Carmichael said at the press conference.

After watching Carmichael speak alongside the mayor, Davio Pena and Diego Colindres, the suspect's roommates, reached out to NBC10 Boston to give their account of what they say really happened, sharing with our station a cell phone video they took that captured the encounter.

“The picture that they’re painting is not true," Pena said. "It’s not accurate. I saw the report saying that officers were unconscious, that officers were being punched. I didn’t see any of that."

Pena and Colindres say their roommate was actually calm when officers walked into their apartment.

“He was standing watching TV, shirt off, doing nothing, just relaxing after a night out,” Colindres said.

The roommates claim the alleged victim had left their place an hour prior to the officers' arrival, and that it was the cops who used excessive force.

“Like he’s screaming for his life and I run into the apartment and I see one of the officers holding him in a chokehold while he’s handcuffed and another officer punching him in the face multiple times,” Pena alleges.

A spokesperson for the police department would not comment on the cell phone video but denied the claims of excessive force.

"The police stay together, they’re always going to have each others back,” Colindres exclaimed.

Chief Carmichael said the officers involved in Saturday's incident were not wearing body cameras. He added that the department and city have been working toward implementing a body worn camera program, and a pilot is expected to take place this summer.

Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller also spoke at Sunday's press conference alongside Carmichael, saying, "I'm so proud that we have line patrol officers who when a domestic violence 911 call comes in, they respond, they are there, they made sure the victim was OK, they arrested this alleged perpetrator in a safe way, they took the brunt of the violence."

"I am thinking of the two of them and their families and hoping for a speedy recovery," the mayor added. "I couldn't be more proud of our police department and our officers."

The police chief said domestic violence calls "are probably one of the most dangerous calls a police officer can go on."

"The job itself is obviously inherently dangerous but these are very dangerous types of calls as you can see from this particular case,” he said. "This is just a situation that our officers face everyday. They go to these types of calls, and they're very unpredictable and very dynamic. I appreciate the work they do everyday when they respond to these calls to keep victims safe and to keep our community safe."

Police reiterated multiple times Sunday that this incident underscores the danger that officers face every day.

"Officers respond to each call and put their lives on the line to protect victims and the community," the department said in a Facebook post. "Attacks upon police officers will not be tolerated and we look forward to justice for victims and our officers."

Several nearby police departments responded to the Facebook post expressing their condolences to the officers involved.

The Chelmsford Police Department wrote, "Awful to hear about. Thoughts are with the department and officers at this time."

The Walpole Police Department said "best wishes for a speedy recovery."

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