Two police officers were injured Monday in a scuffle with a Boston Public Library patron who had refused to leave an exhibition hall at the institution’s central branch in Copley Square, officials said.
The incident began in the McKim Exhibition Hall, a marble-floored room near the building’s main entrance that contains stacks of books, reading tables, and chairs along with windows that face the intersection of Dartmouth Street and Huntington Avenue.
Police identified the suspect as Kevin Williams, 40, of Waltham, said David Estrada, a Boston police spokesman. He was charged with two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, trespassing, and resisting arrest, Estrada said.
Williams was being held and was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday at Boston Municipal Court, Estrada said.
Police and library officials did not detail how the incident played out, but they said neither officer had injuries that were considered life-threatening. One officer was taken from the building while sitting on a stretcher and clasping his face.
Rosemary Lavery, spokeswoman for the Boston Public Library, said the institution would look into “what the repercussions might be for this particular library patron.” The consequences could include a no-trespassing order for not following the facility’s rules.
Operations had returned to normal by early afternoon, and though some patrons and bystanders said they had seen police arriving at the building, there were few other signs of the scuffle. Visitors in the exhibition hall said they did not se anything out of the ordinary.
Jason Guallpa, 18, of Dorchester, had just arrived to study when he saw 10 police officers, he said. Some were escorting children out of the building. “I was kind of curious,” he said. “I was wondering if they were going to close the library down.”
John Quinn, 54, said he did not witness the tussle between officers and the man who was escorted from the library, but he has seen patrons — some of them homeless — removed before. Sometimes that results in altercations, he said.
“There are few good places for homeless people to go, and in the daytime a lot of them come here,” said Quinn, who is homeless. “I fall asleep frequently; I need to take a nap because I have nowhere to go.”
Lavery said guests should continue to feel comfortable.
“The library is a safe and open, welcoming place for everybody,” she said.John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Andy Rosen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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