UMass Amherst student arrested after alleged altercation with campus police

UMass Amherst student arrested after alleged altercation with campus police
Published: Nov. 5, 2022 at 12:20 AM EDT
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AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -A student at UMass Amherst has been arrested, after an alleged altercation with campus police.

Antael Rosa was arraigned in Eastern Hampshire District Court on Tuesday. He’s being charged with assault and battery on a police officer as well as disorderly conduct. Some students we spoke with expressed concerns over the incident.

“I was a little surprised at first. it’s not really something that i would expect to happen here if I’m being honest,” senior Aidan Ferrara said.

“Honestly, I wasn’t really surprised because police presence on campus has always been very problematic,” said Prisha Daval.

Mixed reaction from students at UMass Amherst, after one of their own was arrested on campus Tuesday.

“I heard that it was related to someone trespassing in a construction area, so it did not seem like the person was doing anything too wrong, too disruptive. Honestly, I don’t think police intervention is really justified in any situation on a college campus. I just don’t think it makes anyone feel safe,” said sophomore Prisha Daval.

According to court documents obtained by Western Mass News, Officer Spencer Hotz said he was working a road job at the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Campus Center Way.

He said the sidewalk was closed due to construction and he was in charge of making sure pedestrians didn’t walk around the job site into the road.

Just before 10a.m., Officer Hotz said 21-year-old Antael Rosa walked into the road attempting to walk around the job site - and when he told him to step out of the road: Rosa refused.

Hotz went on to say quote: “…at this point there was heavy traffic, and we were both still in the road. I placed a hand on Rosa to guide him out of the road. Rosa then shoved me.”

Hotz added that Rosa continued to shove him after he attempted to move him out of the road. Some students told Western Mass News they don’t think the police response was justified.

“I don’t think that a jaywalking person should lead into that altercation so I’m not really sure what to believe,” said Ferrara.

On Wednesday, UMass’ chancellor Kumble Subaswammy sent out an email to students saying many people who witnessed the arrest had contacted his office expressing concerns for the students. He said in part quote: “I want to assure our campus community that my leadership team and I are rigorously reviewing the matter. We will do everything within our power to ensure that the student involved is treated justly and that UMPD’s investigatory process is thorough and unbiased.”

He also provided a list of resources for students who were affected by this, something some students say they appreciate.

“It was kind of nice that they said something about it and let students know, but I kind of just wanted to know where that will go further, like if we’re going to take any measures for it or if there’s going to be any further explanation on it,” senior Iago DeSouza said.

Others said they want to see more changes going forward.

“I definitely think more transparency from the administration. there have been multiple controversies on campus, especially to do with race. like the racist emails that were sent last fall and other racist incidents, there’s kind of no follow up…There should be a lot more community-based responses, if someone is being disruptive or someone is genuinely doing something wrong related to drugs or drinking, there should be a more restorative approach I think rather than using police presence,” said Dayal.

Campus officials told Western Mass News that UMass Police are continuing their review of the situation.

a pretrial hearing is scheduled for January 3. We reached out to his defense attorney for comment but have not yet heard back.