SOMERVILLE – On Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, at about 2:09 p.m., Officer Mark McLaughlin of the Somerville Police Department was dispatched to 36 Davis Square following a report of a fight between two people.
Officer Edna DaCosta responded as backup.
(The account and quotation in this article were taken from the printed Personnel Narrative of Officer McLaughlin.)
“Upon my arrival, I observed a male known to me as Clifford Flynn,” Officer McLaughlin said. “I am familiar with Mr. Flynn as he is homeless and stays in the Davis Square area. I have received numerous calls for service in the area related to Mr. Flynn being intoxicated.”
According to police, Flynn, 37, is homeless in Davis Square.
Officer McLaughlin said Flynn assaulted someone earlier that day at about 11 a.m., but the victim declined to press charges.
“As I approached Mr. Flynn, I observed him to have a lump above his left eye and scratches along his head,” Officer McLaughlin said. “Mr. Flynn had a strong odor of alcohol emanating from his body, and he disclosed to me on another occasion that he suffers from alcoholism. I asked Mr. Flynn what had happened, and he was immediately hostile and belligerent, shouting at officers.”
This incident took place in the Statue Park area of Davis Square, which Officer McLaughlin said has “many storefronts and heavy pedestrian traffic.”
“I attempted to de-escalate Mr. Flynn numerous times and reminded him that only a few hours ago, he thanked me for my compassion towards him,” Officer McLaughlin said. “I was able to gather that he was in a fight with another male who was no longer on the scene.”
Officer McLaughlin radioed dispatch for an ambulance so Flynn could be evaluated for his “injuries and intoxication.”
“Mr. Flynn vehemently stated he was not willing to go to the hospital,” Officer McLaughlin said. “I then told Mr. Flynn that due to his head injuries, intoxication, and multiple instances of public disorder, I would be placing him into protective custody for his own protection, and he would be transported to the hospital involuntarily. Mr. Flynn then stood up and began to empty his pockets and remove his shirt, stating that I was going to have to physically force him to go and instructing me to call more police officers, insinuating that he was going to fight us.”
Out of concern for his safety, Officer McLaughlin tried to handcuff Flynn. He stepped in close to Flynn’s body in order to decrease the effectiveness of any potential strikes.
“I then attempted to wrap my arms around him in a bear-hug fashion to limit the movement of his arms,” Officer McLaughlin said. “As I did this, Mr. Flynn attempted to punch me in the face, missing my face and grazing the top of my head, causing a minor scratch to the top of my scalp. I then wrestled Mr. Flynn to the ground with the assistance of Officer DaCosta.”
In addition to the scratch on top of his head, Officer McLaughlin said his hands, forearms and elbows were also scraped during the altercation with Flynn.
“After being placed in handcuffs, Mr. Flynn shouted that we better not let him up because he was going to continue to fight,” Officer McLaughlin said.
The emergency medical technicians who arrived on scene evaluated Flynn for his injuries, but he refused medical attention again.
“I would note that this ordeal caused many citizens to stop and watch what was going on, disrupting the regular business of a busy commercial district,” Officer McLaughlin said.
After refusing medical attention, Flynn was arrested and charged with Disorderly Conduct, Assault & Battery on a Police Officer, and Resisting Arrest.