In two separate incidents over the past month, two Harvard undergraduates were arrested and charged with assault and battery on a Harvard University Police Department officer, among other charges.
The most recent incident occurred early on Sunday, Nov. 10, when Benjamin Y. Zhou '15 was arrested in the stairwell of Winthrop B entryway and charged with assault and battery on an officer, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. The other incident took place just before midnight on Saturday, Oct. 26, when Jack Z. Li '17 was arrested outside of Currier House during the annual Heaven and Hell Halloween party for the same three charges as well as the charge of assault with a dangerous weapon, according to their case dockets.
HUPD—which has “primary jurisdiction” over nearly all crimes occurring on Harvard’s campus, according to its website—rarely arrests Harvard students. Among the seven total arrests made by HUPD in the past 60 days, those of Zhou and Li were the only ones of Harvard students, according to HUPD’s unofficial public logs. HUPD has made 26 total arrests year-to-date, according to spokesperson Steven G. Catalano.
According to Zhou’s case docket, he was arraigned for the three charges on Nov. 12 and has a pre-trial hearing scheduled for Dec. 6. Zhou, 20, declined repeated requests for comment on this story.
According to the police report submitted by HUPD Officer Michael Rea, Rea and his partner Officer Jason Flaherty encountered Zhou while responding to a noise complaint at Winthrop at about 2 a.m. Rea’s report states that after Zhou refused to cooperate with several of the officers’ requests, Zhou assaulted the officers while attempting to flee. It eventually took the assistance of another officer to subdue Zhou and transport him to HUPD’s headquarters, according to Rea’s report. In the process, Zhou’s chin was lacerated and his elbow abraded, according to a separate report filed by Sergeant Scott A. Simas.
Like Zhou, Li, 19, declined multiple requests for comment on this story. According to Li’s case docket, he was arraigned on Oct. 28, and his pretrial hearing is set for Dec. 17.
According to a police report submitted by HUPD Officer Wilmon Chipman, Chipman ordered Li to step out of the line outside the entrance of the Heaven and Hell party while responding to a complaint from a Securitas officer about Li’s behavior. Chipman’s report said Chipman smelled alcohol on Li’s breath. After Li refused to cooperate with several of Chipman’s instructions, Chipman was joined by HUPD officer Charles Marren and then warned Li that he was in danger of being arrested, according to Chipman’s report. Li then assaulted Marren, striking him several times and attempting to grab Marren’s gun from its holster, according to a separate report filed by Marren.
According to Marren’s report, Li was subsequently subdued, handcuffed, and transported to the Cambridge Police Department headquarters. Once there, he was charged and given a verbal trespass warning for all Harvard-owned and -operated buildings and instructed not to return to campus, according to Marren’s report. Li left campus on Oct. 29, his roommate Nicholas A. Tarantino '17 said in a phone interview.
The minimum penalty for assault and battery of a public official in the state of Massachusetts is 90 days imprisonment or a $500 dollar fine. The maximum penalty for the same crime is two and a half years imprisonment or a $5,000 fine.
The Harvard College Student Handbook explicitly prohibits students from engaging in “all physical conflicts, confrontations, and altercations unless their own safety or that of another is at extreme jeopardy,” cautioning that disregarding this rule will usually result in forced withdrawal from the College.
HUPD and the Administrative Board, which oversees disciplinary proceedings for College students, declined to comment on this story.
—Staff writer John P. Finnegan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @finneganspake.