Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Jamal ESCOBAR (Disorderly, Threat to Commit)

On April 11th, 2018, I (Officer Devin Schneider) was in full uniform while assigned to marked cruiser East-1 during the 4pm-12am shift. The following report is a summary of the events that I witnessed, as they pertain to incident #18021404:

At 5:43pm, I was dispatched to a report of a fight between approximately 20 “kids” at 4xx Mystic Avenue (see incident #18021402). The dispatcher reported that it was unknown if weapons were involved. Officers Eddie Soares, David Ruf, and Chris Fusco responded as well. Utilizing my blue lights and siren, I arrived a short time later to the parking lot behind XXXX, where I spoke to a female bystander. The female stated to me that she had witnessed a large group of males fighting in the parking lot, who fled in the direction of the Somerville Housing Projects upon hearing police sirens. I updated dispatch and began searching the area towards where the female had indicated.

A few moments later, I received an update from Officer Soares via radio that Jamal Escobar and his associates were involved in the fight. Escobar is well known to the Somerville Police Department due to his repeated interactions with the police. Detective Cassandra Goncalves notified responding units that she had eyes on Escobar in the area of the Star Market on Broadway. I began making my way, when Detective Goncalves updated units that Escobar was in front of the Winter Hill Market. I arrived in the area of the Winter Hill Market, where I observed Escobar walking rapidly eastward with two males unknown to me.

Officer Soares, Officer Fusco, Detective Goncalves, and I stopped the three males at the intersection of Broadway and Wheatland Street to question them about the alleged fight. Escobar immediately began yelling obscenities at Officers, which began to draw a crowd of people to the area. Escobar was separated from the other two males with Detective Goncalves and Officer Fusco, while Officer Soares and I spoke with the other males, later identified as XXXXXX, hereafter referred to as Juvenile A, and XXXXXX, hereafter referred to as Juvenile B.

I began asking Juvenile A and Juvenile B some basic investigative questions about where they were coming from, and if they were involved in a fight. Juvenile A placed his hands in his jacket pockets, and for Officer safety I ordered him to remove his hands. Juvenile A complied, then after a few seconds he placed his hands in his pockets again. I ordered Juvenile A a second time to take his hands out of his pockets, and he complied, after stating: this is just how I stand. A few seconds later Juvenile A placed his hands in his pocket a third time. Due to the concern that Juvenile A may have just come from the scene of a fight, may be armed, and was repeatedly ignoring Officer’s orders to take his hands out of his pockets, I advised Juvenile A that I was going to pat frisk him.

I began a pat frisk of Juvenile A, who at this point became agitated and accused Officers of being racist. Officer Soares advised Juvenile A that if he refused to comply with Officer’s safety commands, he would be put in handcuffs for safety purposes. Juvenile A then violently shoved me, and shouted a racial slur at me. I attempted to grab Juvenile A’s arms in an attempt to control him, and he shoved me a second time. I told Juvenile A that he was under arrest, and attempted to grab his arms. Juvenile A became combative, and struggled with Officer Soares and I, as we attempted to control his flailing arms. Officer Fusco joined us in our attempt to restrain Juvenile A, who was shouting racial profanities at Officers. Despite Officer’s efforts, Juvenile A resisted our efforts to handcuff him. Juvenile A attempted to escape custody by pushing Officers, pulling his hands away, and slipping out of his Jacket. As the struggle ensued, we ended up on the opposite side of Wheatland Street.

I removed my department issued can of OC spray from its holster, and issued a one second burst towards Juvenile A’s face. Juvenile A pulled his head down and the spray hit him in the area of his chest. Juvenile A continued to struggle, until Officers were able to get him on the ground. Officer David Ruf arrived on scene to assist in the struggle, and we were able to place handcuffs on Juvenile A. The duration of the struggle with Juvenile A lasted about 2-3 minutes.

I would note: during the entire struggle, Juvenile A was shouting obscenities and racial slurs at Officers. A crowd of approximately 20-30 people was gathering on the sidewalk to watch. Many of the bystanders were recording the aftermath of the incident with their cell phones.

I learned afterwards that as soon as the struggle with Juvenile A ensued, Officer Peter Granitsas from the Somerville Housing Authority and Detective Goncalves placed Escobar into handcuffs. The reason for this is that Escobar has a violent history, and his attitude was becoming more tumultuous as Juvenile A fought with Officers. As Officer Granitsas attempted to maintain a controlled grip of Escobar, he struggled with him in an attempt to slip out of his grasp. It was reported to me from Officer Granitsas, Detective  Goncalves, and Officer Kevin Goulart, that during the interaction Escobar was yelling at Officer Granitsas, saying words to the effect of: I’ll take care of you; I got you; you watch, I’m going to show you. Officer Goulart relayed to me that Escobar stated: “ya you, in the black sweatshirt,” indicating the article of clothing that Officer Granitsas was wearing  I believe that these words from Escobar were by intent, designed to threaten and intimidate Officer Granitsas, by inferring that he would cause him physical harm at a later date.

Juvenile A and Escobar were transported back to the police station in prisoner transport unit 200, operated by Officer Justin Buswell. At the station, Escobar and Juvenile A were booked in the usual manner by the Commanding Officer: Lt. William Rymill.

I will be filing the following charges against Juvenile A:

-Ch. 265 / S. 13D: Assault and Battery on a Police Officer

-Ch. 268 / S. 38B: Resisting Arrest

-Ch. 272 / S.53: Disorderly Conduct

I will be filing the following charges against Jamal Escobar:

-Ch. 272 / S.53: Disorderly Conduct

-Ch. 275 / S. 2: Threats to Commit a Crime

Officer Sean Brown from the Somerville Housing Authority presented me with a bag of green leafy substance, which I believe, based upon my training and experience is Marijuana. Officer Brown stated to me that he recovered from Juvenile B. I will be mail Juvenile B a city ordinance citation for the possession of the marijuana.

Respectfully submitted,

Officer Devin Schneider

Badge #295

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