Former MBTA police officer Jennifer Amyot Garvey has been indicted on five charges related to the beating of American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts client Mary Holmes (pictured above)--a woman pepper-sprayed, beaten and arrested by Garvey and MBTA police officer Alfred Trinh, after Holmes spoke out to prevent the police from abusing a person in her Roxbury neighborhood. Garvey faces arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court on Wednesday for two felony charges of assault & battery with a dangerous weapon, two charges of filing a false police report and one charge of violating Ms. Holmes's civil rights.
"My mother taught me to care about my neighbors and my community," said Ms. Holmes. "I saw something wrong and said something. I am happy to see that Garvey is being held accountable for her criminal actions."
This criminal case joins the pending civil rights lawsuit filed by Ms. Holmes this summer, which seeks to hold both Garvey and Trinh responsible for their actions. With the ACLU and Howard Friedman as her counsel, Ms. Holmes seeks to hold both Garvey and Trinh responsible for their actions.
Ms. Holmes was at the Dudley Square MBTA station in Roxbury when she saw Garvey scream at and shove another Black woman. The situation worried Ms. Holmes, so she tried to calm the woman and asked Garvey to stop being so aggressive. When these efforts failed, she called 9-1-1 for help.
In response, Garvey and her partner, Trinh, pepper-sprayed Ms. Holmes in the face, beat her with a metal baton and arrested her, handcuffing her hands behind her back while forcing her to the ground.
"We are pleased that the Suffolk County DA is indicting Jennifer Garvey for her criminal actions," said Jessie Rossman, ACLU of Massachusetts staff attorney. "However, it is important to remember this started when Mary Holmes was arrested and criminally charged, even though she did nothing more than exercise her constitutional rights and supported her community. We welcome this 180-degree shift."
"This profound change from a civilian facing criminal charges to a police officer facing criminal charges is a credit to Mary Holmes and all those who are standing up to hold police officers accountable for their actions," said Carl Williams, ACLU of Massachusetts staff attorney. "We have seen in the past year that people standing up and speaking out can make a difference. We all can make our communities more just."
Click here for a copy of Holmes' complaint and video of the incident, as well as more information about the case.