Sep 3 2013

Police in North Attleborough recorded beating and pepper spraying man during arrest

Dr. Q

A man has published a video depicting North Attleborough police beating and pepper spraying his friend, who was a suspect in a domestic violence case. At first, the man refused orders to get on the ground as police beat and pepper sprayed him, but after he fell to his knees, the police continued beating him.

Here’s a video about the incident from Fox 25/WFXT:

The [North Attleborough Police Department] issued a press release after a video was released showing officers in a violent struggle with one man, ordering him to the ground, and hitting him with what appeared to be batons.

Officers received a domestic disturbance call Sunday from a woman claiming her ex-boyfriend was strangling her and attempting to prevent her from calling police; however, during the struggle, she was able to break away.

Minutes later, officers encountered the suspect outside the victim’s home on North Washington Street. The suspect, who was much larger than either of the responding officers, police said, allegedly laughed and told them, “There are just two of you? You better call for back up.”

According to police, the man was immediately combative and would not listen to officers. He refused to get on the ground despite officers’ repeated requests, and at one point, he even allegedly took a fighting stance with his fists raised.

In the video, it appears the suspect pushed an officer and took a swing at another. The four officers appear to hit and use pepper spray on the suspect. After more than a minute, he finally falls to his knees. Police continue to hit him with batons, something witnesses say was over the top.

And here’s the raw video:

According to Fox 25, “Police acknowledged the video and said all information is being thoroughly reviewed.” So, the police say they are reviewing what happened, yet they have already tried to exonerate the officers in the court of public opinion with their press release which offers nothing but justifications for the officers’ violence. This is precisely why all investigations of excessive force allegations and other misconduct allegations against police should be handled independently from the police department and local DA’s office. There is an inherent conflict of interest when a police officer is investigated by his or her colleagues.

This story should also be a reminder to everyone that you should always record the police when you see them. You never know what might happen. Few people are going to take the word of a domestic violence suspect and his friend over the word of the police, so it’s important for the public to have objective records of police encounters.

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.

Jul 25 2013

Two Boston cops on leave after “altercation” with Tedeschi clerk

Dr. Q

The Boston Globe reports that two Boston cops have been given paid vacations after one of them was allegedly involved in an “altercation” with a Tedeschi clerk (presumably the cop assaulted the clerk) and the second officer failed to intervene:

Two Boston police officers have been placed on paid leave while officials investigate an alleged altercation that one of them had with a clerk at a convenience store located near their district station in Hyde Park.

Cheryl Fiandaca, a police spokeswoman, said in a statement Wednesday that the “incident involving a physical altercation” between an officer and a male clerk occurred Tuesday at about 12:45 a.m. at a Tedeschi Food Shops store at 1187 Hyde Park Ave.

“A second officer, who was present during the altercation, but took no action to intervene, is also being investigated in connection with the incident,” Fiandaca said.

She did not identify the officers, who are both men, citing the pending review. She also did not say what touched off the dispute, which occurred while they were on duty, or if anyone was injured.

“Internal Affairs has opened an investigation into the matter,” Fiandaca said. “Boston Police have also referred the case to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.”

Jake Wark, a spokesman for District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, said prosecutors “understand that there is videotape” of the incident from the store’s surveillance system.

“We have not had a chance to review it, but the allegations, if true, are deeply disturbing,” Wark said.

No arrests had been made as of Wednesday evening.

May 24 2013

Jury sides with Worcester police officer in brutality lawsuit

Dr. Q

The Telegram & Gazette reports that a jury has sided with a Worcester police officer in a lawsuit related to an alleged police brutality incident that occurred back in 2005. See below for the details:

A Superior Court jury has found in favor of a city police officer in a nearly 7-year-old civil lawsuit brought against him by a Fitchburg man, who alleged that the officer severely beat him with his service baton when an altercation broke out at a downtown nightclub in April 2005.

The jury found that Officer Jarrett J. Watkins did not assault and batter Randy Martineau while trying to break up a fight that had erupted between two other patrons at the Club Red on Pleasant Street.

Mr. Martineau alleged that Officer Watkins struck him seven times with his service baton during the melee.

Officer Watkins, who was working an off-duty paid detail assignment at the nightclub when the altercation broke out, intervened to restore order, according to city lawyers.

They said that after the officer’s verbal commands were ignored and lesser physical measures were ineffective, he found it necessary to use his service baton.

Officer Watkins acknowledged using his baton twice on Mr. Martineau, saying it was in order to break up the fight.

The city defended the case on the basis that, as a police officer, Officer Watkins was authorized to use force to secure compliance with his orders to cease and desist, and restore the peace.

After three days of trial, the jury took 45 minutes Thursday to return a verdict in favor of Officer Watkins.

City Manager Michael V. O’Brien said Thursday the decision in favor of Officer Watkins is “a clear reflection of the highest level of training and professionalism of our Worcester Police Department.”

He also commended the work done by Assistant City Solicitor Kevin M. Gould, who was the city’s lead trial counsel, along with Assistant City Solicitor Wendy L. Quinn and City Solicitor David M. Moore, who assisted in the trial of this case.

The plaintiff was said to be seeking more than $350,000 in damages for injuries he claimed were sustained because of unreasonable force applied to him during the incident, which occurred on the night of April 2, 2005.

In a civil suit he filed against Officer Watkins in 2006, Mr. Martineau maintained he was an innocent bystander and the officer repeatedly struck him with his baton, breaking bones in his head and neck area and inflicting other injuries, after a fight broke out between two other patrons.

May 23 2013

Can Massachusetts police be trusted with new “SWAT Bot?”

Dr. Q

While there are plenty of exceptions, it’s so common to see mainstream media outlets produce shoddy journalism on police technology and tactics. There are so many lazy reporters who, when they cover some controversial issue in policing or some new technology being developed or utilized by police, simply talk to some police officers or representatives of the company developing the new technology, and uncritically regurgitate whatever it is they happen to say.

I reviewed an article like this earlier this week. This front-page puff piece in The MetroWest Daily News, which was was filled with colorful pictures of six police dogs and featured little bios for each them, was based entirely on interviews with the police officers who worked with the dogs. Not a single person who was critical of the use of police dogs was interviewed.

While I was doing some research, I stumbled upon another sloppy, one-sided article about new “SWAT robots” which are being developed by a company in Maine and tested by the Massachusetts State Police (“‘SWAT robots’ soon to protect US first responders,” Associated Press, April 18, 2013). Although the article is over a month old by now, I still thought it was worth discussing especially considering it was written by the Associated Press and has been published in newspapers across the United States.

According to the article:

Sanford Police Chief Thomas Connolly, who heads a regional tactical police squad that has trained with the device, said the robot can be a valuable tool for police in dangerous situations.

“It can provide police with a huge tactical advantage,” he said.

Police nationwide regularly find themselves dealing with standoffs and kidnappings.

Last week, a heavily armed man held firefighters hostage for hours in his suburban Atlanta home before the Gwinnett County Police SWAT team stormed the house and killed the gunman. No firefighters were hurt.

Gwinnett County Cpl. Jake Smith said the SWAT robot looks like it would be useful as a safe way to approach a barricaded person. But he didn’t know how cost-effective the $98,000 price tag would be.

Robots are nothing new in law enforcement.

Bomb squads use remote-controlled robots to locate and defuse explosive devices. Camera-equipped robots are used for surveillance to keep officers out of harm’s way.

Police have been known to use robots with articulated arms to lift police shields in front of windows of houses to shield officers from gunshots fired from inside the home, said Corey Luby, of the National Tactical Officers Association, a Doylestown, Pa., organization representing patrol and special operations officers. Police also use armored vehicles as shields to get close when hostages are being held or a suspect is barricaded inside a structure, he said.

But the SWAT robot, dubbed the “SWAT Bot,” is the first robotic device Luby has seen that’s designed for specifically for ballistic shield purposes.

“It’s another life-saving tool,” Luby said. “I’d rather see a robot get hurt than a person.”

A team of officers from the Southern Maine Response Team tactical squad demonstrated in a mock drill Thursday how the robot works, with six officers walking behind the mobile bulletproof shield while approaching someone playing the role of an armed suspect.

The machine also has attachments that allow it to knock down doors or drag away cars.

So, according to the Associated Press, who only bothered to speak with representatives of the company that developed these “SWAT Bots” and police officers who have tested them, the only reason police would want these $98,000 robots which are capable of smashing down doors and dragging away cars is to keep police officers safe when they are trying to apprehend dangerous criminals.

But why should we believe that?

Whenever police adopt a new tactic or technology, they always give reasons that seem impossible to object to. The new tactic or gadget will enhance “officer safety,” it will make it easier for police to apprehend violent criminals, to prevent terrorist attacks, etc., yet police always end up using that technique or technology for purposes other than they were originally intended for.

One of the best examples is the SWAT team itself. SWAT teams were first developed in the 1960’s in order to respond to high-stakes crisis situations involving armed perpetrators who were very likely to put up violent resistance — hostage situations and bank robberies being two examples. However, SWAT teams quickly became widespread. According to a recent USA Today interview with Peter Kraska, a criminologist whose work focuses on police militarization, SWAT teams were deployed only about 2,000 to 3,000 times per year in the early to mid 80′s. That number has shot up to about 70,000 and 80,000 per year in the present.

When a SWAT team is deployed, they generally rely on a frightening tactic known as the “no-knock” raid. The purpose of a no-knock search is to surprise the occupants of a building and subdue them with an overwhelming show of force before they have an opportunity to react. Police converge on a building — usually in the middle of the night — then smash the door in with a battering ram or explosives. They either announce their presence only a few seconds before breaking the door down or do not announce it at all (hence “no-knock”). After breaking in the door, police will sometimes throw potentially lethal explosive devices called flashbang grenades into the home with the ostensible purpose of confusing and disorienting the occupants. They then storm the building and force everyone to the ground at gunpoint, handcuff them, and search the premises.

The main reason for the dramatic increase in SWAT deployment is that SWAT teams are used to serve routine search or arrest warrants especially for drug suspects. SWAT teams have even been used to investigate things as mundane as suspected underage drinking and unlicensed barber shops. Although data on this is hard to come by, it appears that a huge percentage of people targeted in these raids are not guilty of anything. According to a government study about SWAT teams in Maryland, more than one third of SWAT raids conducted in the state during 2010 failed to end with even a single arrest. SWAT teams are now seen by many police as part of normal, routine police work — not something to resort to in emergencies.

The journalist Radley Balko, who has tirelessly written about SWAT teams and no-knock raids, concludes that police

are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they’re sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers. These raids bring unnecessary violence and provocation to nonviolent drug offenders, many of whom were guilty of only misdemeanors. The raids terrorize innocents when police mistakenly target the wrong residence. And they have resulted in dozens of needless deaths and injuries, not only of drug offenders, but also of police officers, children, bystanders, and innocent suspects.

— Radley Balko, “Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America,” Cato Institute, 2006, pg. 1

In Massachusetts, there have been numerous completely avoidable tragedies associated with the use of these paramilitary police units. In a recent column about the drug war in Boston, Radley Balko summarizes several of these cases:

In 1988, Boston Det. Sherman Griffiths was shot and killed during a police raid on a residence they suspected was occupied by Jamaican drug dealers. The suspected shooter, 34-year-old Albert Lewin was acquitted three years later after a series of investigations revealed widespread corruption and perjury within the department. In the raid that ended one of their colleague’s life, one BPD sergeant admitted in testimony that he had fabricated the informant whose alleged tip led to the raid in the first place. Waiting to establish probable cause — in other words, respecting Lewin’s constitutional rights — was too time consuming. Sources in BPD told the Globe that “enormous public pressure on police to arrest drug dealers . . . has led some detectives to find ‘workable’ solutions to what police see as unworkable constitutional requirements for warrants.”

The Lewin/Griffiths case also brought to light that Boston narcotics cops were routinely falsifying search warrants in drug cases — which means they were routinely raiding homes without probable cause. A Boston Globe review of 350 drug warrants found that fabrication of informants, exaggeration of probable cause, and boilerplate language was common. By one estimate, the number of drug warrants served by Boston police jumped from around 300 in 1985 to more than 3,000 by 1990.

The problem wasn’t just in Boston. In a federal trial held at about the same time, a Philadelphia narcotics cop admitted that he and his colleagues fabricated informants on hundreds of search warrants. These warrants then authorized violent forced-entry raids on private homes.

City officials, judges, and prosecutors had little interest in holding them accountable. One former high-ranking BPD officer had at one point hired an attorney to look into the growing problem of falsification of drug warrants, and to discipline officers found to have lied or used boilerplate language on such warrants, but his efforts were thwarted by the police union.

As the Boston Globe noted in a 1990 article, the residents of the city didn’t seem particularly concerned either — these raids on innocent were being conducted in mostly poor, mostly minority neighborhoods. “I don’t think the electorate is too concerned with the rights of drug dealers,” one criminologist told the paper.

And so the raids went on. In 1995, the Rev. Accleyne Williams, a 75-year-old retired minister, died of a heart attack after struggling with 13 members of a masked, heavily armed Boston SWAT team that stormed his apartment on such a raid. The police later revealed that an informant had given them incorrect information.

Doctors later concluded that Williams had literally been scared to death. One BPD source told the Boston Globe that was entirely the point. The raid team, for example, wore black ski mask hats to terrify their suspects. “The psychological impact of confronting a masked face with a shotgun pointed at you can be devastating,” the source said.

According to the Boston Herald, “a warrant authorizing the raid was approved by Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Mary Lou Moran, even though the application supporting the warrant did not specify which apartment on the building’s second floor was to be targeted. It also failed to provide corroboration of the confidential informant’s tip that a Jamaican drug posse operated out of the building.” In fact, the police officer who signed the affidavit for the warrant swore that the informant was trustworthy, even though he had previously falsely implicated a friend in a shooting three years earlier.

Another police source told the Herald: “You’d be surprised at how easily this can happen. An informant can tell you it is the apartment on the left at the top of the stairs and there could be two apartments on the left at the top of the stairs . . . You are supposed to verify it, and I’m not making excuses, but mistakes can be made.”

Another Boston Herald investigation later discovered that three of the officers involved in the Williams raid had been accused in a 1989 civil rights suit of using nonexistent informants to secure drug warrants. The city had in fact just settled a suit stemming from a mistaken raid five years earlier. According to witnesses, one of the officers in that raid apologized as he left, telling the home’s terrified occupants, “This happens all the time.”

–Radley Balko, “Boston And Militarism: The Modern Drug War,” The Huffington Post, May 3, 2013

We could also point to the police in Fitchburg who, in December, 1996, conducted a drug raid at the apartment of a suspected cocaine dealer. During the raid, officers tossed two “flashbang” grenades into the apartment. The grenades landed on a couch and started a fire that destroyed the entire apartment complex, placing the two dozen residents in mortal danger and leaving them displaced from their homes for the holiday season. None of the officers responsible for the fire were ever criminally charged. In fact, three of them were given “Community Service Awards” by the Massachusetts Police Association for the courage they supposedly showed during the fire (see Ric Kahn and Zachary R. Dowdy, “‘Iron fist’ of policing SWAT team use questioned,” The Boston Globe, May 11, 1998).

We also have the example of the Framingham Police Department, who conducted a deadly drug raid in 2011. During the raid, one officer shot and killed Eurie Stamps, a 68-year old man, while he submissively lay on the ground, waiting to be handcuffed. Stamps was not the target of the raid and was not suspected by the police of committing any crimes at all. The police and district attorney labeled the shooting as an “accident,” no charges were pressed against the officer who was responsible, and he was allowed to return to his job.

Given that SWAT teams and tactics themselves have been wildly abused, should we expect to start seeing “SWAT Bots” used in completely inappropriate situations? Will these robots supposedly created for violent standoffs be used for routine police work? Will they be used to smash down the doors of people suspected only of nonviolent, victimless offenses? The officers interviewed by the Associated Press didn’t indicate that they would, but we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be comforted by that.

Are there any state laws or department policies regulating how these robots may be used by police to ensure that they’re not deployed in inappropriate situations? If not, will police refrain from purchasing these robots until these laws and policies have been put in place? Will police departments be transparent about how often these robots are deployed and why? It would’ve been nice if the Associated Press had asked questions like these.

We might also consider that when there is a large protest, police frequently bring all kinds of high-tech gadgets and weaponry to issue extrajudicial punishment against anyone and everyone attending the protest. One example is the “Long Range Acoustic Devices” (or “LRAD”), a sound-based weapon that is capable of indiscriminately inflicting permanent hearing-loss. The Boston Police Department actually deployed an LRAD at Occupy Boston. The device was never used to attack demonstrators, but many felt BPD was intentionally displaying it as an intimidation tactic. Another example would be so-called “rubber bullets” which are actually metal bullets that have been coated with rubber. These bullets are often depicted by police and the media as being “non-lethal” weapons which are suitable for “crowd control” despite that fact that there have been numerous documented cases of people being killed by them.

Even when police are using these types of “crowd control” weapons to respond to actual violence, they cannot necessarily be trusted to use them appropriately. In Massachusetts, we have the example of Victoria Snelgrove, a 21-year old student who was shot to death with a pepper-pellet gun (another supposedly “non-lethal” weapon) by a Boston police officer who was firing indiscriminately at crowds of revelers after the Red Sox pennant victory in 2004.

After Snelgrove’s death, a commission was formed to investigate what had happened. The Boston Globe summarized the commission’s findings as follows:

The failures that led to Snelgrove’s death began with planning. Claiborne and his team did not examine possible scenarios for the night or issue guidelines for the use of force when preparing for the event, the Stern panel said. Both were recommended after James Grabowski was killed during the 2004 Super Bowl celebrations and for the Democratic National Convention.

The planning team also ignored advance intelligence that revelers would probably gather on Lansdowne Street and did not place specially trained riot police there, instead stationing them at Kenmore Square and near Northeastern University.

When Lansdowne Street flooded ”wall to wall” with celebrants after the game ended about midnight, officers not adequately trained in crowd control became “outnumbered and outflanked,” the report said. The commander in charge of police operations around the ballpark, Deputy Superintendent O’Toole, then incorrectly issued pepper-pellet guns to officers he knew were not certified to use the gun and took one himself, even though he, too, was not certified, the report said.

O’Toole, no relation to the commissioner; Patrolman Samil Silta, and Officer Rochefort Milien, the only officer certified to use the gun, started firing at fans on the back of the Green Monster.

The report cites one witness account that Robert O’Toole fired as if hoping the pellets hit intended targets. The two other officers fired their weapons indiscriminately, continuing even as people were climbing down.

Two people were shot in the face, 24-year-old Cambridge resident Paul Gately and Boston College student Kapila Bhamidipati. The injuries were not reported to headquarters, which could have alerted police to problems with the FN303, the report says.

Robert O’Toole, meanwhile, tried to hand his gun to Officer Steven Gil, saying, ”Stevie, are you certified on this?” Gil said no and refused to take the weapon. The commander then gave the gun to another officer, who said he was also uncertified. O’Toole replied, ”Just pull the trigger,” the report said. That officer did not fire the weapon and is not facing discipline.

A short time later, after officers had cleared much of the crowd from a section of Lansdowne Street, Milien fired two quick shots at a man he said had been throwing bottles. One of the pellets struck Snelgrove in the eye. The panel concluded that Milien fired so quickly he probably did not have time to aim properly.

An officer at the weapons supply truck on Brookline Avenue, Patrolman Thomas Gallagher, failed to treat the returned weapons as evidence, not tracking who had fired which weapon.

— Donovan Slack, “Snelgrove panel rips police,” The Boston Globe, May 26, 2005

To truly appreciate the unbelievable negligence displayed by numerous officers in the Boston Police Department, all of which contributed to Snelgrove’s death, you’d have to read the entire report yourself.

Although Snelgrove’s family was paid $10 million in a settlement with the manufacturer of the weapon police used to kill her, none of the officers responsible for her death were criminally prosecuted.

So, will these “SWAT Bots” be used for “crowd control” at the next major protest in Massachusetts? Once again, we have no indication that they will be, but it’s still important to ask questions like this in advance because we need to set limits on what kinds of weapons police have access to, when they use them, and how they use them.

The fact is, police in Massachusetts and the rest of the country have been responsible for many horrific tragedies and they are frequently not held accountable for them. Whenever police say that they need new weapons to protect themselves from dangerous criminals, this is the context that we should view every single one of their claims in. We can’t allow police to constantly stockpile new, dangerous weapons without considering the danger they pose to the public nor should we tolerate it when the mainstream media enables them by publishing poorly-researched propaganda pieces.

Jan 23 2012

News Roundup (Jan 16 – 22)

Dr. Q

Here are the stories I tracked this past week:

  • Carlos Miller reports that Hector Nunez, the man from the Haverhill who uploaded the video that was recently featured on this site, received another visit from the police. You can see his video of this second visit here:

  • The Cape Cod Times reports that Somerville police officer Ariel Colazzo and Cambridge police officer Christopher Borum are both facing assault and battery charges after allegedly beating a DJ at a convention for drug officers. The DJ alleges that he was beat by at least six police officers, but has had trouble identifying them.
  • reports that the Boston Police department has fired an officer for excessive force and lying during an investigation. Officer David C. Williams was fired for tackling and using a chokehold on a corrections officer who recorded him during a traffic stop. Williams had been fired in 1998 for beating an undercover police officer, but was reinstated in 2005 after successfully appealing his firing. He plans to try to get his job back for a second time using an arbitration process.
  • The Connecticut Post and Associated Press report that Dr. Frank Evangelista, Connecticut’s associate state medical examiner, is on trial for perjury in Massachusetts. Evangelista is accused of presenting conflicting testimony in two related murder trials while he was a medical examiner in Massachusetts. Evangelista was indicted in Plymouth County but will be prosecuted by the Bristol County DA’s office to avoid a conflict of interest.
  • NECN reports that a Weymouth police dispatcher is on trial for pulling a gun on two teenagers and threatening them in a parking lot outside her apartment while off-duty. The dispatcher, Kristen Hart, claims she believed the two teens were burglarizing cars. In fact, one of the teens lived in the apartment building and the second was visiting.
  • The Republican reports that a male pedestrian was hit by a Holyoke police cruiser. Police have yet to identify the officer who hit the pedestrian, but say they are investigating the incident.
  • The Daily Items reports that a state police officer who was arrested in Saugus last year was found guilty of negligent operation of a motor vehicle, but avoided a OUI conviction. The Clerk Magistrate said that there wasn’t enough evidence for the OUI charge partly because the arresting officer didn’t perform a sobriety test at the time of arrest. You can read an old post I wrote about this case I here.
  • reports that the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld million dollar judgments in favor of families of victims of gangster “Whitey” Bulger. The Court found the federal government liable for the deaths due to the FBI’s corrupt relationship with Bulger.