The daughter of US Representative Katherine Clark allegedly flailed and struck a police officer in the face during a protest on the Boston Common on Saturday, leaving the officer with a nosebleed, prosecutors said in court Monday.
Riley Dowell, 23, was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on charges including assault and battery on a police officer and vandalizing a historic marker or monument. Dowell pleaded not guilty and was released on the $500 cash bail she had previously posted, with orders that she stay away from the Common while the case is pending.
Dowell was identified at the hearing by her birth name, Jared Dowell. Dowell was assigned male at birth but has transitioned to female.
After the arraignment, Dowell and her lawyers hurried out of court without speaking with reporters. One lawyer said that Dowell uses she and her pronouns before heading down a staircase.
Police were called to the Parkman Bandstand around 9:30 p.m. Saturday for a report of a protest and allegedly saw a person, later identified as Dowell, spray-painting the monument with the words “NO COP CITY” and “ACAB,” an anti-police slogan, police said in a statement.
As Dowell was being arrested, about 20 protesters surrounded officers and screamed profanities through megaphones, bringing nearby traffic to a standstill, police said.
During the chaos, one officer was “hit in the face and could be seen bleeding from the nose and mouth,” police said.
A police report filed in the case said officers were on “high alert” Saturday for the possibility of an anti-law-enforcement demonstration in solidarity with “Atlanta Forest Defenders,” referring to a recent case in Georgia in which an environmental activist was killed by police after officials said the 26-year-old shot a state trooper.
“Protesters had called for a [show of] solidarity across the country on today’s date,” the report said, adding that Dowell was seen “defacing the Parkman Bandstand with spray paint.”
Dowell was one of about 20 people seen walking through the Common toward Boylston Street. She was described as wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, red hat, and black face mask while carrying a backpack, police said.
Police saw someone matching Dowell’s description and ordered her to stop, according to the report.
As one officer approached Dowell, she “attempted to flee by flailing [her] arms, striking the officer,” police said. After a brief struggle, additional officers placed Dowell in custody, the report said.
At booking, Dowell’s backpack was allegedly “found to contain the spray paint used in the incident,” the report said.
The injured officer was taken to a local hospital for evaluation, according to the report, which described protesters’ alleged hostility to responding officers.
“During the arrest, the protest group of approximately 20 persons began to surround the [officers] while recording the incident on their cellphones,” the report said. “Many protesters were moving very close to officers in what appeared to be an attempt to interfere with the officers’ lawful performance of their duties.”
On Sunday, Clark confirmed that her daughter had been arrested in Boston.
“I love Riley, and this is a very difficult time in the cycle of joy and pain in parenting,” said Clark, the House Democratic Whip, in a statement. “This will be evaluated by the legal system, and I am confident in that process.”
Last night, my daughter was arrested in Boston, Massachusetts. I love Riley, and this is a very difficult time in the cycle of joy and pain in parenting.— Katherine Clark (@RepKClark) January 22, 2023
This will be evaluated by the legal system, and I am confident in that process.
Police said they arrested a second person at the bandstand at around 10:30 p.m. Andrea Colletti, 27, of Brighton, allegedly tried to run away from the police and briefly struggled with officers who apprehended her, officials said.
Colletti was charged with damage of property by graffiti/tagging, destruction or injury of personal property, and resisting arrest, the statement said. Colletti was also slated to be arraigned Monday in Boston Municipal Court, officials said.
Dowell is due back in Boston Municipal Court on April 19.
Clark, appearing at an unrelated event in Watertown on Monday, called it a “difficult time” and repeatedly referred back to her previous statement in response to questions about the case. “I love all my children and Riley dearly,” she said Monday.
The Revere Democrat emphasized her support of police, saying both she and the Democratic congressional caucus share the goal of “working toward safer communities” and ticked through a variety of actions it’s taken — including, she said, “making sure that our police are funded.”
“If we are talking about the importance of police in our communities, it has been my work and my position and priority that every single person in every single zip code has . . . the assumption of safety in their communities,” the Revere Democrat said. “That is the work that I’ve done. And police are critical partners in that work going forward.”
Asked if she condemns violence against police, Clark said, “I condemn violence against everyone.”
“Whether that is against police,” she said, “or against community members as a result of any person or government entity.”
Material from The Associated Press was included in this report.
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