Oct 11 2013

Agawam police officer charged with assaulting wife

Dr. Q

The Republican reports:

A 13-year member of the Agawam Police Department was arraigned on a domestic assault and battery charge Monday in Westfield District Court following his arrest for spousal abuse over the weekend at his Agawam home.

Paul Chenevert, 47, denied the charge at his arraignment. Judge Joseph Conant ordered him released on his own recognizance. He is due back in court in court on Dec. 20.

He was ordered to refrain making threats or physical violence against his wife, and was also ordered not to drink any alcohol. As part of the court order, he is to submit to periodic testing for alcohol use.

Police were called to Chenevert’s home just before 1:30 a.m. Saturday for a complaint made by his wife, who said her husband had assaulted her.

Chenevert has been a police officer in Agawam since 2000.

Lt. Richard Light Jr., acting chief for the department, said Chenever on Monday was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the outcome of the department’s internal affairs investigation.

Light said he ordered the investigation on Monday and it should be completed by sometime next week.

Another cop gets another paid vacation at taxpayer expense after being charged with a violent crime.


Sep 28 2013

Worcester police officer arrested on assault and drug charges

Dr. Q

The Telegram & Gazette reports:

A Worcester police officer is being held at the Worcester County Jail after he was arrested Thursday in Southbridge in connection with a domestic assault.

Robert A. Farrar, 42, of 170 Prince Road, Southbridge, is charged with assault and battery, aggravated assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (a belt) and possession of Percocet. He is being held until a dangerousness hearing is held next week.

A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf during his arraignment Friday at Dudley District Court.

According to Worcester Police Sgt. Kerry Hazelhurst, Officer Farrar is a 19-year veteran of the Worcester Police Department. He has been placed on paid administrative leave, per department policy in such instances. As a result, the Worcester Police Department’s Bureau of Professional Standards is conducting an internal investigation into the matter.

Officer Farrar is being held without bail until the dangerousness hearing is held Wednesday.

I wish it was my job’s policy to give me a paid vacation if I was arrested for a violent crime.

Update (9/18/2013): Farrar is now facing new charges. The charges include four counts of rape and three counts of assault and battery.


Sep 11 2013

Man says off-duty Ashland cops punched him

Dr. Q

The MetroWest Daily News reports:

A local attorney, in a letter sent last week to the town manager as well as state and federal agencies including the FBI and the Middlesex District Attorney’s office, is demanding the town again investigate a local man’s claim that off-duty police punched him at the VFW bar last Christmas.

The letter, from attorney Joseph Hennessey, says off-duty officers “sucker punched” Richard O’Dell after O’Dell tried to help a woman an officer allegedly pushed to the ground at the bar.

The letter claims the matter, which was recently deemed unfounded by Ashland Police, was not properly investigated by the police and asks that it be reopened.

“This is not justice,” the letter says.

According to Hennessey’s letter, no police reports were written about the incident. O’Dell has produced photos showing his black eyes and bruising, as well as text messages from after the incident between him and Linda Dionne, with whom O’Dell went to the VFW bar on Pleasant Street on Dec. 25.

Dionne, the letter says, is the former sister-in-law of Ashland Police Officer Michael Dionne.

Two days after the incident, O’Dell reported it to the police and spoke with then-Chief Scott Rohmer and Lt. David Beaudoin before the investigation was turned over to Lt. Richard Briggs. Hennessey, in his letter, argues the investigation was purposely conducted to be incomplete or conducted incompetently.

“I call upon you as the Town Manager … to see that this matter is not simply brushed under the rug,” the letter says.

Hennessey’s letter says the officers’ alleged behavior violates Ashland Police Department rules and state laws against assault and battery.

The letter, dated Sept. 5, was also sent to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston and Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office. Town Manager Anthony Schiavi Tuesday said he had not received it yet.

The letter describes how O’Dell and Linda Dionne went to the bar on Christmas and met several “heavily intoxicated” off-duty police officers.

The letter, which contains several typos including a misspelling of Coakley’s last name and the wrong date of the incident, does not say which department the off-duty officers were from.

It says the officers glared and laughed at O’Dell, attempting to provoke him. After they punched him, the letter says O’Dell called police, but it says the responding officers didn’t help him. Instead, they huddled around their cruiser with the off-duty officers.

Hennessey, a childhood friend of Rohmer, also represented Andrew Stigliano, the Metropolitan Avenue resident shot and killed in July by an Ashland officer.

He also represents Sgt. Edward Pomponio, an officer named in the Ashland Police union’s complaint against Rohmer. Pomponio also is a co-defendant in several discrimination suits against Rohmer.


Aug 30 2013

West Brookfield officer gets probation for assault and battery

Dr. Q

The Telegram & Gazette reports:

A West Brookfield police officer has been placed on probation and ordered to complete an anger-management course, after being found guilty of assaulting a Warren woman with whom he lived.

Officer Harold A. Parker, 50, of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., was found guilty of assault and battery after a jury-waived trial Wednesday in Central District Court.

Judge Janet J. McGuiggan placed Officer Parker on probation for six months. As conditions of probation, he was ordered to have no contact with the victim, identified in court records as Susan Bailey, and to successfully complete an anger-management course.

Ms. Bailey, 49, accused Officer Parker of slamming her against a wall Sept. 3, 2012, after she asked him to move out of her home on Brimfield Road in Warren, according to court records.

Assistant District Attorney Edward N. Karcasinas Jr., who prosecuted the case, recommended that Officer Parker be placed on probation for a year and ordered to complete a batterers’ program and have no contact with Ms. Bailey, according to Timothy J. Connolly, a spokesman for District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. Officer Parker’s lawyer, Roger F. Banks, recommended the six-month period of probation, Mr. Connolly said.

Officer Parker, who joined the West Brookfield Police Department in 1996 and became a full-time patrolman in 1999, was placed on paid administrative after the assault was reported.

Don’t you wish you got a paid vacation at taxpayer expense when you were accused of assaulting and battering someone?

Update (9/19/2013): The Telegram & Gazette reports that Officer Parker is no longer on the police force.

In going behind closed doors Tuesday night to discuss a grievance complaint form related to Mr. Parker, selectmen confirmed they had made decision Sept. 4 about Mr. Parker but would not say if he was fired, dismissed or terminated.

“At this time he no longer works for the town of West Brookfield,” Selectman Barry J. Nadon Jr. said, and that is all that he or the other two selectmen would say on the subject.

They also gave no explanation of the grievance complaint form under discussion.


Aug 14 2013

Man assaulted by Boston police sergeant for taking video

Dr. Q

It’s been more than a year since the City of Boston paid out over $200,000 in settlements to people falsely arrested for video-recording cops, but Boston police still haven’t learned their lesson.

Last year, the taxpayers of Boston were forced to pay $170,000 to Simon Glik and $33,000 to Maury Paulino. Both men were arrested — Glik in 2007 and Paulino in 2009 — by Boston police officers for openly video-recording cops making arrests in public.

During Glik’s legal odyssey, the First Circuit federal appeals court explained in a ruling that recording the police in public is a well-established, constitutionally protected right and police can be sued for violating this right.

Despite these rulings and hefty settlements, a Boston police sergeant showed yesterday that he felt perfectly comfortable physically assaulting someone for video-recording, threatening him with arrest, and forcing him to cross the street against his will.

Boston-resident Jay Kelly was walking down the sidewalk of Adams Street in Dorchester, just a few blocks away from where he lives, when he noticed a group of police detaining several people. He walked past the police, took out his cellphone, and began recording out of concern for the people who had been detained.

"Sarge"

“Sarge”

It wasn’t long before Kelly was approached by a pudgy, balding thug in a blue shirt who asked him why he was “taking pictures” of “undercover” — no — “plainclothes police officers.”

“You’ve got guns on the street,” Kelly said, expressing the appropriate skepticism one should have for a group of armed strangers.

The cop told Kelly that he could record, but said that he was somehow “putting plainclothes officers’ safety at risk.”

The officer showed Kelly his badge, but promptly covered it up and walked away after Kelly attempted to record it. Kelly was able to read that the officer’s badge number was 362.

“What’s your name, officer?” Kelly asked.

“Actually, it’s sergeant,” the cop petulantly replied. The cop never told Kelly his name, so we’ll refer to him as “Sarge” for the purposes of this article.

Sarge and a red-shirted cop (later identified as “Fabiano”) began telling Kelly that he would have to move down the street.

“You guys like shooting it out with people,” Kelly told the cops, expressing his anger at their ridiculous orders.

Sarge became enraged by Kelly’s comment and began walking toward him menacingly and assaulted him by grabbing at his camera.

Sarge continued walking toward Kelly, forcing him to back up the length of two parked cars. At one point, Sarge walked into Kelly and threatened to arrest him for assaulting and battering a police officer if they came into physical contact again. “I was threatened with arrest for pushing him when in the video I am clearly moving back,” Kelly told me.

Sarge ordered Kelly to cross the street. When Kelly pointed out that it would be jaywalking to do so, the cop walked into the street and began blocking off traffic.

After Kelly crossed the street, he continued recording the police for several minutes.

Sarge yelled at Kelly from across the street that the people the police were detaining did not want to be recorded. “They can tell me that if they want,” Kelly said. None of the individuals told Kelly to stop recording.

Kelly doesn’t record police very often, “but if something seems amiss, I would stop and observe [the police] any time,” he told me. He said he recorded police a number of times during his involvement with Occupy Boston. He also mentioned that he was pushed around by a State Police Captain for video-recording at the State House last year in April.

Kelly said he has contacted the American Civil Liberties Union about yesterday’s incident. He also contacted Deputy Superintendent John J. Daley of the Boston Police Department in order to file a complaint. He said he was interested in pressing assault charges against Sarge.

Kelly pointed out to me that the Boston Police Department sometimes uses its Twitter account to ask for witnesses of shootings to come forward, but in this case, the police were trying to stop him from witnessing what was happening. “They only want witnesses when convenient to them,” he said. “Fuck that bullshit.”

“They’re all bastards,” Kelly said of police. He said he suffers from PTSD because of his past interactions with police officers and his experience spending several years in jail.

Nevertheless, Kelly said that after yesterday’s incident, he is probably more likely to record police he sees in the future.


Aug 1 2013

Holyoke resident alleges police brutality in federal lawsuit

Dr. Q

Police searching Erick DeJesus’s car (Source: The Republican)

On July 3 of this year, Holyoke resident Erick DeJesus filed a federal police brutality lawsuit over an incident that occurred on July 6, 2010. The complaint (.pdf format) names two Holyoke police officers and a state trooper as well as the City of Holyoke, the Town of West Springfield, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and other unspecified police officers as defendants.

According to the complaint, DeJesus had been shopping at the Almonte Market in Holyoke when he entered his black car and drove away. As DeJesus left, Detective William Delgado of the Holyoke Police Department began following him.

Delgado had apparently been looking for a black car in the area after he received a call from another police officer who told him that there might be a weapon in the vehicle.

Delgado followed DeJesus into the town of West Springfield where he was joined by other members of the Massachusetts State Police, Holyoke Police Department, and West Springfield Police Department including Holyoke Police Officer Leahy and State Trooper Valentini (the first names for Leahy and Valenti were not mentioned in the complaint).

The night of the incident, Holyoke Police Lt. Matthew F. Moriarty told The Republican that police began chasing DeJesus at 9:31 p.m. Moriarty also indicated that officers from a multi-jurisdictional Gang Task Force (not mentioned in the complaint) were involved in the chase.

The police allegedly dragged DeJesus out of his car, slammed him to the pavement, and struck him about his head, face, jaw, neck, back, ribs, and arms using unknown objects.

After the beating, DeJesus was left with bleeding lacerations, contusions, a concussion, blurred vision, a headache, and the inability to open his jaw. DeJesus was arrested and, despite his visible injuries, was not provided with medical treatment. No weapon was found on DeJesus or in his vehicle.

The Republican reported the night of DeJesus’s arrest that he was charged with possession of a Class A substance, possession with intent to distribute, operating to endanger, and other unspecified charges. According to the complaint, DeJesus’s trial attorney filed a motion to suppress evidence obtained by the police on the grounds that DeJesus had been unlawfully stopped and searched. All the charges against DeJesus were later dismissed.

The lawsuit, which will be heard at the United States District Court in Springfield, seeks unspecified monetary damages and attorneys’ fees.

DeJesus’s attorney, Jeanne Liddy, said during a telephone interview that no court hearings have been scheduled for the lawsuit yet. She declined to comment on any facts about the case not mentioned in the complaint, saying they would be discussed at trial.

The Holyoke Police Chief and the Office of Media Relations for the Massachusetts State Police were both contacted by email several hours prior to the publication of this article. They have not yet responded.

An update will be posted as soon as new information becomes available.

Special thanks to Jonathan Adams of Open Media Boston for providing me with a copy of Erick DeJesus’s complaint.

Update (same day as the original post): Updated with comments from DeJesus’s attorney.