MBTA Police unjustly beat, pepper-sprayed and detained a Roxbury woman, according to a lawsuit.
With the American Civil Liberties Union as her counsel, Mary Holmes filed a civil rights lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts against Officer Jennifer Garvey and Alfred Trihn. Holmes tried to quell a tense interaction between Garvey and an older black woman at Dudley Station in March of 2014, according to the complaint.
Holmes claimed that she was trying to get Garvey to be less aggressive towards the woman.
Once this didn’t work, Holmes claims that she then called 911 and was pepper-sprayed, beat with a metal baton and arrested.
"The MBTA has signs everywhere telling people 'if you see something, say something.' This is exactly what Ms. Holmes did. She saw something wrong, and she spoke out. We need more people to follow Ms. Holmes' lead and do the same," Jessie Rossman, staff attorney at the ACLU of Massachusetts said in a press release. "Unfortunately, the officers' reactions are part of a broader, troubling trend, in which police officers mistreat individuals exercising their constitutional rights. It has to stop."
"While the MBTA doesn’t ordinarily comment on pending litigation, the allegations contained within the complaint are concerning to the Authority. The MBTA takes these allegations very seriously," an MBTA spokesperson said in an email.