UMass student arrested on Commonwealth Ave.

Eyewitnesses reach out to Chancellor Subbaswamy with concerns

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James Jesson/Daily Collegian (2013)

By Lucas Ruud and Sofi Shlepakov

This is a developing story and may be updated as information and details become available.

On the morning of Nov. 1 on Commonwealth Ave., University of Massachusetts student Antael Rosa was arrested by a UMass Police Department officer.

A number of witnesses have since contacted the office of Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy “expressing concern” for the student of color arrested, according to an email statement sent out to students, faculty and staff on Nov. 2.

The police officer was monitoring pedestrian and car traffic after a lane was closed earlier that week for construction at the four-way stop light intersection.

Miranda Lutyens, a 50-year-old PhD student in the UMass English department, was an eyewitness to the incident.

“As I was walking through Lot 39, I noticed a male pedestrian heading down that walkway, and I remember thinking to myself that he was going to get all the way to the bottom without knowing that there was a detour, because there was no signage anywhere along the way indicating that one couldn’t cross as usual at the intersection,” Lutyens wrote in a witness statement sent to the UMPD that she provided to the Massachusetts Daily Collegian.

The student did not follow the detour and instead crossed in front of a fenced-off curb, which was a heavily trafficked walkway prior to construction, according to Lutyens.

After walking away from the intersection, Lutyens says she heard yelling and returned to see “the student heading south… away from the intersection.”

“The first thing I saw was the officer grabbing the student by his arm. The student twisted free, and I heard him yelling that he was trying to get to his car,” she added.

“It was at that moment where another SUV came screeching in. A uniformed officer came running across the northbound lane, yelling at him ‘Get up against the car.’” Lutyens said in an interview. “He physically took the student and pressed him against the car.”

In an email statement to the Daily Collegian, University spokesperson Edward Blaguszewski said the UMass Police report corresponding to the arrest was made for “disorderly conduct” and “assault and battery of a police officer.”

“Meanwhile, UMass Police are continuing their review of the matter, including identification and interviewing of possible witnesses,” Blaguszewski said.

Lutyens took issue with the police’s treatment of the situation and the “poorly signed” detour. “The fact that a student was restrained so quickly and forcibly based on a verbal altercation involving a pedestrian traffic detour was disturbing,” Lutyens said.

The campuswide email statement from Chancellor Subbaswamy addressed the incident.

“I want to assure our campus community that my leadership team and I are rigorously reviewing the matter,” the email stated. “We will do everything within our power to ensure that the student involved is treated justly and that UMPD’s investigatory process is thorough and unbiased.”

Blaguszewski said the student was arraigned on Nov. 1 at Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown, was released “and is scheduled to return to court at a later date.”

The Daily Collegian is awaiting comments from more eyewitnesses. The UMPD has not released a statement at this time.

Lucas Ruud can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @LukeRuud. Sofi Shlepakov can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @SShelpakov.