Real Life Somerville Police Stories: (ABDW) Assault & Battery With a Deadly Weapon

I, Officer Mark McLaughlin of the Somerville Police Department, report the following summary of facts:

On Saturday, September 24, 2022, I worked my assigned 4PM- 12AM shift, in full uniform, in marked cruiser West-6.

At approximately 4:23PM, I responded to a fight that started in Seven Hills Park and ended on Dover St. Officers Scrugli (W-7), Lentini (W-5) and Sgt. St. Hilaire (S-8) also responded. Upon my arrival on Dover St., I observed Officer Scrugli speaking with a group of people and Officer Lentini speaking with two individuals (see supplemental reports for a more detailed account). I spoke with XXXX, Mr. XXXX stated that he was in Davis Sq. demonstrating against a group of politicians. While demonstrating, he had a dispute with an unknown female, with whom he has had prior altercations. He was later approached by four men stating to be relatives of the unknown women. According to Mr. XXXX, he and the four men began to argue. Then, the four men assaulted him, knocking him to the ground, kicking him, punching him, and hitting him with a flag pole that belongs to a witness, XXXX. I observed Mr. XXXX to have multiple cuts and abrasions on his face and extremities (photos attached). Mr. XXXX also showed me a video that he recorded of the event.

In the video, I observed four males, two of which were later identified as Andwain Coleman and Foster Starks, approach Mr. XXXX who was filming. The other two males are unidentified as of this report. The group of men appeared to accuse Mr. XXXX of assaulting a relative. The camera then began to jostle violently and people began shouting. I was unable to see a clear visual. This is the point in the video that Mr. XXXX alleges that he was knocked to the ground and assaulted by the group. There is a brief moment in the video where I observed a kick being thrown by an unknown party. Mr. XXXX stated numerous times that the two males still on scene, Mr. Coleman and Mr. Starks kicked him and hit him with a flag pole. The other two males fled the scene.

Officer Scrugli spoke with XXXX who stated he was also assaulted by the group of men. Mr. XXXX provided me with a video of part of the incident. In the video I observed a fight between several people including Mr. XXXX and Mr. Starks. During this aeration Mr. XXXX appears to be bitten in the shoulder by an unknown male. The flag pole is also seen laying on the ground during this fight.

I then spoke with Mr. Coleman and Mr. Starks. Both parties stated that Mr. XXXX and his group of protesters shouted racial slurs at them and attacked them. Mr. Coleman and Mr. XXXX stated that they defended themselves. I did not observe Mr. Coleman or Mr. Starks to have apparent injuries.

Based on the video footage, visible injuries, and all statements, including statements made by multiple witnesses, I placed Mr. Coleman and Mr. Starks under arrest for Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon (shod foot & flag pole). While being placed into handcuffs, Mr. Starks and Mr. Coleman repeatedly stated that they did not feel the arrests were fair and that their side of the story was not heard. I allowed them to explain their version of events to me several additional times. I explained that they were being charged based on the evidence at the scene. They were transported to the Somerville Police Station by Officer Robert Taylor in Unit 200 and booked in the usual manner by Sgt. James Slattery. Mr. XXXX was transported to Cambridge Hospital by Cataldo EMS. Officer Scrugli conducted a follow-up interview with Mr. XXXX at the hospital and photographed his injuries. The flag pole used has been logged into evidence. All video evidence can be requested from Mr. XXXX and Mr. XXXX.

Later in the evening I responded to a call for assistance at XX Dover St. On my arrival I spoke with Mr. Starks who stated that his car keys were taken by someone involved in the earlier altercation.

Respectfully Submitted,
Officer Mark McLaughlin

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