Boston police may have been able to prevent the murder of Amy Lord

Dr. Q

After the horrific slaying of Amy Lord, a 24-year-old South Boston resident, the Boston Police Department has been forced to face the possibility that they may have prevented her kidnapping, robbery, and murder. It turns out that in 2012, the police were literally handed an opportunity to arrest Edwin Alemany, who is currently a “person of interest” in the murder investigation.

Yesterday, The Boston Herald reported:

A 21-year-old college coed who handed cops a golden opportunity last year to arrest the “person of interest” in the Amy Lord murder and the suspect in two nightstalker-style assaults on South Boston women says she’s dumbfounded that police never brought charges against Edwin Alemany — even after she grabbed his wallet and handed them his I.D.

The woman told the Herald yesterday it “blew my mind” when police said they couldn’t prosecute Alemany for her Sept. 28, 2012, assault — a vicious late-night beating in which she was slammed to the ground and choked unconscious, according to the police report.

“He said they weren’t going to prosecute,” the outraged victim told the Herald yesterday. “He said because there was no physical evidence to charge him with. It blew my mind. I was thinking, ‘If the police aren’t going to do anything about this, who is?’ ’’

She never saw his face — he attacked from behind, grabbed her throat and threw her to the ground — and could not provide a detailed description to police. She said she remembered not being sure if her attacker was black or Hispanic. After she came to, she said her pocketbook was gone and with it, all of her identification.

“He came out of nowhere. I remember trying to grab something out of his pockets,” she said. “Then I blacked out. I was out for 20 minutes.”

She said she handed the wallet to police, without giving it much thought.

The victim, whose name is being withheld by the Herald, said she spoke to police a few times following the attack.

“I never got follow-up,” she said. “Nothing.”

She said police finally got back to her yesterday, about 10 minutes before she spoke with the Herald.

Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said the detective — identified in the report as Jerome Hall-Brewster — is under investigation.

Davis told reporters yesterday he is “very disappointed in what the detective did in this case,” and that there was enough evidence to arrest Alemany, even though the victim gave only a vague description of her attacker. “Our standard is probable cause, and I believe that that detective had probable cause,” he said.

Normally I would not add incidents of failure to investigate or arrest someone to my police misconduct database, because, as strange as it might seem, police actually do not have a legal duty to arrest or protect anyone. However, in this case, the police commissioner has confirmed that the detective who apparently failed to arrest Alemany is under investigation, so I believe it would be appropriate to do so.

Update (7/29/2013): The Boston Globe has learned that Detective Jerome Hall-Brewster has been demoted to patrol officer for his failure to arrest Alemany. The Globe also obtained information about eight other complaints against Hall-Brewster.

A Boston police detective who failed to follow up on a September case tied involving a person of interest in the brutal abduction and murder of Amy Lord of South Boston last week has been demoted, police said.

Detective Jerome Hall-Brewster is losing his detective rating tomorrow as a result of the September case, according to a copy of a department Internal Affairs record that a police spokeswoman provided to the Globe.

The document did not indicate whether the demotion was permanent, but Cheryl Fiandaca, a police spokeswoman, said in an e-mail that Hall-Brewster is “no longer a detective” and that his new rank will be patrol officer.

Hall-Brewster’s record also shows that he was charged internally in a complaint stemming from an incident in November 2011, and the allegations have been sustained. Fiandaca would not provide details about that complaint, since the department has yet to decide on his punishment.

In addition, the department found in 2001 that he failed to properly report the non-lethal use of force during an incident and served 16 hours of work without pay. The document did not provide further details of that case, and Fiandaca did not respond to an inquiry about it.

Seven other complaints have been brought against Hall-Brewster but were not substantiated, the document shows.

Update (7/29/2013): Daniel Devoe reminded me (via Twitter) that Jerome Hall-Brewster was one of the defendants in the lawsuit Simon Glik filed after being arrested for recording police in 2007.

2 Responses to “Boston police may have been able to prevent the murder of Amy Lord”

  • SR Says:

    Everyone is leaping to the conclusion that arresting Alemany for the prior incident would have prevented the Lord incident. Alemay has a giant criminal record and has been released or had his sentence reduced every time. Yes, it appears the officer messed this one up, but it’s not right to then just assume that mess-up led to the horrific Lord killing. We all need to keep some balance….

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