A Boston police officer has been placed on administrative leave for allegedly hurling racist slurs at students from a Hyde Park school.
The Boston Police Department said the incident happened Sept. 13 and involved an officer who belonged to the Hyde Park district and students from Roxbury Prep.
The trouble began when the officer responded to a noise complaint at a McDonald’s restaurant near the school before class.
Students reportedly refused to leave the restaurant when a manager asked them to, prompting someone to call the police.
Nayla Matos and Sania Houston were two of the students at the restaurant where the alleged incident took place.
"It was a very harsh day for us as students," Matos recalled.
"The police officer ran in saying we had to get out because we were trespassing," added Houston.
The officer began to follow the students to their school and allegedly became more aggressive, pushing them and using racial slurs.
"He had his hand on his gun the whole entire time and I didn't want to end up like another black kid getting shot," Houston said.
Boston police identified the officer in the incident as Joseph R. Lynch, a 16-year veteran with the department.
Boston police said they have launched an internal affairs investigation into the incident. Students also had the opportunity to meet with both Boston Police Commissioner William Gross and Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins on Thursday.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says the accusations are a top concern.
"If this is true, and it's under investigation, I'm not happy about," Walsh said. "This is exactly what we don’t want to see happen in the city of Boston. We're working on making sure our officers have a positive interaction with young people."
Roxbury Prep issued a statement on the incident:
"Boston police officer came onto the school premises. Numerous students and staff have come forward to express the deep concerns about the officers behavior, both in terms of his actions and language."