UMass probes campus arrest after concerns raised

  • UMass campus Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

Staff Writer
Published: 11/3/2022 7:45:16 PM
Modified: 11/3/2022 7:44:58 PM

AMHERST — The arrest of a University of Massachusetts student during an altercation with a campus police officer is being reviewed by the campus leadership team after witnesses expressed concern for the person taken into custody, according to a campuswide letter from Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy.

“We will do everything within our power to ensure that the student involved is treated justly and that (the UMass Police Department’s) investigatory process is thorough and unbiased,” Subbaswamy wrote in the communication issued Wednesday afternoon, a day after the incident.

Subbaswamy’s letter states that several UMass students and faculty members got in touch with his office after observing the arrest of a student of color by a UMass police officer who was monitoring vehicle and pedestrian traffic near a construction site on Commonwealth Avenue on Tuesday morning.

“I want to assure our campus community that my leadership team and I are rigorously reviewing the matter,” Subbaswamy wrote.

UMass spokesman Ed Blaguszewski said Thursday that the student was arraigned in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown on Tuesday, was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to return to court at a later date.

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

Online logs posted by UMass police provide more details about the incident. The person arrested, at 9:51 a.m. in the area of the Mullins Center, 200 Commonwealth Ave., was Antael K. Rosa, 21, of Lawrence. Rosa was arrested on charges of assault and battery on a police officer and disorderly conduct.

Subbaswamy’s letter acknowledges the important role that UMass police play in providing public safety to the campus, and that “an episode such as the one described by witnesses yesterday requires inquiry and reflection so we can continue the work toward establishing a community of dignity and respect for all.”

Those who saw the arrest first-hand, or who have otherwise been affected by it, are being referred to various campus resources for support, including the Dean of Students, Single Stop Resources, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health, the Center for Women and Community, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and Residential Life staff, as well as counselors and support groups.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.
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