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Both Harvard and Cambridge police departments are conducting internal investigations into charges that officers failed to respond when Crimson editors seeking to take photographs were assaulted and had their lives threatened.
Yesterday, Crimson President Jonathan S. Cohn '91 issued complaint letters to officials at Harvard and in the city of Cambridge concerning a series of incidents over the last two weeks involving representatives of the newspaper and associates of Saudi Arabian Prince Turki bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud. The prince and his entourage have been residing at the Charles Hotel since mid-July.
Cambridge Mayor Alice K. Wolf said that the incidents and city officers' conduct were being reviewed by the police department's internal affairs division at her request.
She said she believed that Cambridge officers might have failed in their duties to protect city residents. "There was some cognizance by the police that the assault occurred," she said.
Cambridge Police Chief Anthony G. Paolillo refused comment on the internal inquiry.
The Harvard and Cambridge police officers arepart of a security detail protecting the royalfamily during its stay at the Charles Hotel inCambridge. They are working for the Saudis inaddition to their regular duties and are beingpaid by the prince.
Harvard Police Chief Paul E. Johnson also saidthat his department was investigating theincidents. "We're looking at [the] complaints verycarefully, and we'll be dealing with them verycarefully," he said.
Late yesterday afternoon, Johnson asked the twoCrimson editors who said they were assaulted toappear at the Harvard University Police Departmentto make official statements.
Vice President and General Counsel DanielSteiner '54, who oversees the Harvard police, saidhe would take action on the complaints after hehad gathered more information.
"I intend to get more of the facts and then Iwill do what I think is appropriate," he said."It's obviously a concern if students think theywere treated improperly."
On Saturday, a member of the prince's entouragepushed the camera of Crimson reporter Joshua A.Gerstein '91-92 into his face, Gerstein said.Gerstein, who said he was taking pictures ofmembers of the prince's family and securitypersonnel, said that plain-clothes Cambridgepolice officers standing nearby refused to take areport about the incident.
Later that day, a security agent for the princekicked Crimson photographer William H. Bachman '92in the midsection after the student attempted totake pictures of the Saudis, Bachman said. WhenGerstein asked a Harvard police officer on thedetail to take a report about the incident, theofficer replied, "How do you know I'm a Harvardpolice officer?" and walked inside the hotel,Gerstein said.
In addition, Gerstein said that in an incidenttwo weeks ago a close aide to the prince verballythreatened his life in the presence of HarvardPolice Lt. Lawrence J. Murphy, who is heading upthe prince's security detail. Murphy refused totake a report, Gerstein said.
James A. Hauser, the Miami-based attorneyrepresenting the prince's party, refused commentyesterday. Members of the Saudi entourage havetold Gerstein that they acted because the Crimsoneditors were bothering the prince's party
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