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Man saved by Transit police detective claims video shows excessive force

A lawyer for a man saved from stepping off a Red Line platform by a Transit police detective last May alleged Wednesday that a security video shows the detective using excessive force to subdue the man.

Attorney Howard Friedman said he will likely pursue a lawsuit against Detective Sean Conway, and possibly against the MBTA, after viewing the video released by the T on Friday through a settlement that ended his firm’s 10-month legal battle to obtain it.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority released a 22-second clip the day after the May 7 incident in a blog post titled “Transit Police detective’s quick action saves a life.”

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In that video, Friedman’s client, Anthony Ferrier, is seen standing at the edge of the Ashmont/Braintree platform at Park Street station, his toes extending past the yellow caution band.

Then, after a fade-out and fade-in, Ferrier appears to step off the platform toward the tracks as Conway grabs Ferrier’s left arm and spins him so he lands on his side.

Friedman said Ferrier was “quite intoxicated,” as the MBTA later said, but that other elements of the story promoted by the MBTA and subsequently reported by the Globe and other news outlets, were deliberately misleading.

“You look at what they released, and it looks like they tried to manipulate the press and public opinion,” Friedman said.

Conway did not respond to messages Wednesday night on his office phone and his work e-mail address, and Lieutenant Michael Shea of the Transit police said he had not heard anything about the incident since initial media coverage last May.

“I thought he did a good job, from what I saw, but I haven’t seen what you’re talking about,” Shea said.

He said Conway is well-regarded by other officers, and he was not aware of any previous allegations of excessive force.

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In the full video provided to The Boston Globe by Friedman, Ferrier steps into frame at 2:08:12 p.m. and meanders to the platform’s edge at 2:08:26. After a pause, he turns around, gesturing at 2:09:06 toward two women, who turn his way briefly and keep walking.

One minute later, Conway enters the frame, striding toward Ferrier wearing a dark vest, light shirt, and a hat. He appears to address Ferrier, gesturing behind him with his thumb. Ferrier steps toward the tracks and Conway pulls him back, then appears to try to pin Ferrier.

They scuffle, and at 2:10:23 Conway pulls back his right hand and punches Ferrier. The struggle continues, and 11 seconds later Conway punches Ferrier again, and then seconds later lands three more blows in succession.

At 2:10:53, Ferrier kicks at Conway. Three seconds later, Conway pins Ferrier and reaches behind him, apparently retrieving handcuffs that he then uses on Ferrier.

A photo provided by Friedman shows Ferrier with a large, purple swelling below his left eye.

Friedman believes the detective’s actions were out of line.

“Punching is not really recommended for police officers,” he said. “He didn’t look like he was in control of the situation. He looked like he was upset and taking it out on Mr. Ferrier.”

Friedman said he does not plan to ask Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley to pursue criminal charges.

“Given that the district attorney rarely brings charges against police officers acting as police officers, I wouldn’t do that,” Friedman said.

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Attorneys in Conley’s office have not yet seen the video, according to Jake Wark, a spokesman for Conley.

“Prosecutors have not heard from Mr. Friedman regarding this incident,” Wark said Wednesday night.


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.