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71-year-old activist arrested in Worcester

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Chris Horton was taken to the University of Massachusetts Memorial Center Monday afternoon.
Chris Horton was taken to the University of Massachusetts Memorial Center Monday afternoon.

A housing rights activist handing out fliers during a Martin Luther King Day breakfast in Worcester was arrested after allegedly assaulting a police officer, and he was then taken to University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center, Quinsigamond Community College campus police said in a statement.

Chris Horton, 71, of Worcester was subsequently charged with assault and battery. Campus police say that he was soliciting members at the breakfast, and event organizers asked for his removal.

According to a witness, a fracas ensued.

Kevin Ksen, a member of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, said he saw police throw Horton to the ground, where he hit his head.

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"Seriously you're going to arrest a 71-year-old man? There was nothing they could do instead of pulling him to the ground?" Ksen said. "No communication, no negotiation. Really, did it have to go to this level?"

Horton said he had a previous injury and asked to be taken to the hospital, accordingly to campus police.

Horton, a volunteer for the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team, was seeking support for families being evicted from their homes, Ksen said, who added there were about 500 people at the event.

The campus police did not respond to a request for more information, including whether Horton allegedly assaulted a campus police officer or a local law enforcement official.


Mina Corpuz can be reached at mina.corpuz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @mlcorpuz.