LYNN — A use-of-force investigation is underway in Lynn after cell phone video captured an officer repeatedly punching a woman.
It happened in the early morning hours on Sunday around 5:30 a.m. at a rooming house on High Street.
Police said they were called there for a report of an unwanted guest who refused to leave the premises, identified as 39-year-old Jessica Wagle.
Wagle, who has two felony outstanding warrants and a lengthy criminal record, reportedly refused to cooperate with law enforcement and “violently resisted arrest”.
The video that was posted to social media shows an officer punching Wagle four times after she was pepper sprayed.
“He literally threw her on the floor, and I heard her head hit the floor,” said Legmarie, who didn’t want her last name published. “She’s still kicking and screaming, and he literally punched her!”
Several witnesses told Boston 25 News that they were outraged by the way that officers handled the situation.
“It totally ridiculous use of force,” said David Rose. “It’s not justifiable at all. Brutality of that sort is unacceptable.”
Lynn Police said the cell phone video that was posted to social media doesn’t capture the whole story.
Police point out that Wagle kicked officers multiple times and tried to bite an officer before being punched.
Officers believe she was under the influence of stimulants.
Eight minutes of body camera footage released by the department on Wednesday night show what happened after officers entered the building.
The footage shows officers trying to reason with Wagle in the doorway of the apartment.
She appears to ignore repeated requests to exit the unit, and things escalate when one of her wrists was handcuffed.
“No, no, no,” she is heard screaming in the video.
Police said pepper spray didn’t seem to have any effect on Wagle and was incapacitating officers who were struggling with her for over two and a half minutes.
“The officers gave numerous verbal commands while trying to handcuff Wagle, but she refused to comply,” said a statement from the Lynn Police Department.
According to police, the incident was immediately reported and supervisors responded to the scene.
“Preliminary findings based on the review of this incident reflect that the officers acted within the Lynn Police Use of Force Policy based on Massachusetts Police Training Committee standards,” explained the department’s statement.
Boston 25 News security analyst Dan Linskey, who once served as the Superintendent-in-Chief of the Boston Police Department, said the incident doesn’t appear to be an example of police brutality.
“At first glance, this officer was not excessive in what he did,” said Linskey. “Use of force is ugly for everyone involved. Everyone wishes it didn’t happen, but unfortunately, officers who have to take people into custody who don’t want to be taken into custody will have to utilize force.”
Lynn Mayor Jared Nicholson said the city is “committed to providing full transparency in this investigation.”
Wagle is scheduled to be arraigned in Lynn District Court on Thursday.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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