Lynn

Lynn Police Release Bodycam Footage of Woman's Arrest Involving Use of Force

Bodycam video from police in Lynn, Massachusetts, shows officers striking and using pepper spray on a woman who was arrested over St. Patrick's Day weekend

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Police in Lynn, Massachusetts, released intense bodycam footage Wednesday of an arrest over St. Patrick's Day weekend.

The Lynn Police Department says it released the footage to provide transparency. It comes after a separate video taken by a bystander was shared online.

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The video shows officers striking and using pepper spray on a woman identified by police as 39-year-old Jessica Wagle, who was being arrested on trespassing charges.

At 5:34 a.m. Saturday, police say Wagle refused to leave a rooming house after a man tells police he wants her out.

Officers spent several minutes trying to restrain and arrest Wagle. Officers can be seen using pepper spray as she kicks and screams.

The video shows officers striking and using pepper spray on a woman identified by police as Jessica Wagle, who was being arrested on two outstanding felony warrants.

"The Lynn Police Department requires a review of all Use of Force incidents," the department said in a statement. "Preliminary findings based on the review of this incident reflect that the officers acted within the Lynn Police Use of Force Policy based on Massachusetts Police Training Committee Standards."

Todd McGhee, a former defensive tactics coordinator for Massachusetts State Police, said the officers acted accordingly to police training.

“The officer could have done something different in that something different would’ve actually been a higher level of force," McGhee said. "They could’ve used their baton based on her behavior or they could have tased her.”

The case continued to be reviewed by Lynn police Thursday, and Wagle is set to appear in court on Friday on charges including resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer.

Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, called the use of force seen in recordings of the incident "deeply concerning" and urged a transparent investigation into both what the officer did in this case and the Lynn Police Department's policies.

"This incident also underscores the importance of the constitutional right to record police officers, as it was only the cell phone video that revealed the numerous times the officer punched the woman in the head," she said in a statement.

People who know Wagel say she has mental health problems. Mayor Jared Nicholson said the Lynn Police Department's behavioral health unit was not part of the response.

"This is not the optimal scenario for us," he said.

Nicholson says that even if the investigation doesn't find any wrongdoing on the part of police, more resources and training are needed when it comes to mental health.

"We really want to take that to heart, and we will work to do better," Nicholson said.

The mayor says he is working on the city's unarmed crisis response team, which will specifically work on mental health emergencies.

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