Nov 7 2013

Springfield police officer faces disciplinary action after reporting weapon missing

Dr. Q

The Republican reports:

A Springfield police officer, who reported that his service firearm had gone missing from a Hartford apartment last month during his off-duty hours, was subject to a four-hour disciplinary hearing Wednesday at department headquarters.

Sgt. John M. Delaney identified the officer in question as Kevin Merchant and said a decision regarding potential discipline for him has yet to be made.

Delaney said a written report on the results of the hearing will be forwarded to Commissioner William J. Fitchet, who will then make a decision on potential discipline.

Delaney, aide to Commissioner William J. Fitchet, said the process could take 7 to 10 days. Until then, Merchant will remain on normal duty status with the department.

Oct 19 2013

Curry College campus officer fired after home invasion arrest

Dr. Q

The Patriot Ledger reports:

A Marshfield man being held without bail on home invasion and gun charges for allegedly entering the home of a woman he knows and pointing a police baton and a handgun at her has been fired from his job as a public safety officer at Curry College.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Frances L. Jackson, director of communication at the Milton college, confirmed that Paul Kodzis, 26, of 54 Primrose Lane had been fired.

“The matter remains under investigation with external law enforcement agencies, and the college is grateful for their service,’’ Jackson said.

Kodzis was arraigned Tuesday in Plymouth District Court on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, home invasion with a firearm, domestic assault, improper storage of a large-capacity firearm, armed burglary and witness intimidation.

Kodzis’ bail may be reconsidered following a dangerousness hearing scheduled for Friday.

Marshfield police arrested Kodzis on Monday night after a woman went to the police station to report that she had awakened at about 1 a.m. Monday to find a man, later identified as Kodzis, pointing a police baton and handgun at her and yelling, Marshfield police Lt. Paul Taber said. Taber said the woman, who lives in Marshfield, knows Kodzis “from the past.”

The woman told police she ran into the room of one of her roommates, and Kodzis followed her. The roommates were then able to talk Kodzis into handing over the gun, Taber said.

The witnesses told police they left the gun in the bathroom while the victim called Kodzis’ parents, who “picked him up and took control of the gun and the police baton that he had brought with him,” Taber said.

Police found two loaded, unsecured handguns in the attic of Kodzis’ home, Taber said.

Police have since suspended Kodzis’ license to carry firearms.

Oct 12 2013

Jury sides with Framingham police sergeant in federal lawsuit

Dr. Q

The MetroWest Daily News reports:

After more than three and a half years, Framingham Police Sgt. Scott Brown said his name is finally cleared.

On Sept. 16, a federal jury dismissed claims by a former Framingham couple that Brown pointed a gun at them in April 2010.

“It’s relief,” said Brown. “It’s been hanging over me. At this point, they were just going for money.

Jorge Correia and his wife, Cathleen Runnals, filed the suit against Brown and the town, as well as several other police officers, after Brown was found not guilty in a criminal trial in May 2011 that charged him with assault and battery. A federal judge removed everyone but Brown and the town from the suit prior to the six-day trial that ended on Sept. 16.

The pair were seeking $1 million in damages from the town.

Correia and Runnals told police that Brown and his partner, then Detective Leonard Pini, pulled into the EZ Storage facility on 501 Cochituate Road, Framingham, on April 29, 2010 and Runnals confronted Brown about urinating outdoors on the property.

When Correia rushed over to see what the commotion was. Correia claimed that Brown threatened him with his handgun. Brown said he only pointed at Correia and told him to move.

After an investigation, the Middlesex district attorney’s office charged Brown with assault with a dangerous weapon and threatening to commit a crime. Middlesex Superior Court Judge Paul Chernoff found Brown not guilty after a seven-day bench trial.

In the civil trial, Runnals and Correia alleged assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent supervision. The jury deliberated for 40 minutes before finding the town and Brown not responsible.

Neither Correia nor Runnals could be reached for comment.

Brown said he’s glad to move on.

“It still bothers me that I had to go through all of that,” said Brown. “You can’t have all that in you’re head. You have to keep going forward.”

Jun 13 2013

Assumption College campus officer shoots self in foot

Dr. Q

An Assumption College campus police officer negligently discharged his firearm at a firing range, shooting himself in the foot (Source: Telegram & Gazette).

Details here:

Deputy Chief Keith S. Hough, 55, received a bullet wound to his right foot when his handgun went off as he was placing it in his holster, according to District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.’s office, which investigated the 8 a.m. shooting.

The deputy chief was taken to UMass Memorial Medical Center — University Campus, where his condition was listed as good.

The shooting occurred inside a mobile firing range parked in front of the old fire station on Main Street, according to Police Chief George Sherrill.

“It appears to be accidental,” Chief Sherrill said. “State police are investigating whether the bullet ricocheted, was a stray bullet or a misfire.”

For the record, I treat all “accidental” shootings by police officers as cases of negligence for the purposes of my police misconduct database. Guns do not simply fire themselves; guns fire because someone pulls the trigger. For this reason, I add all “accidental” shootings to the database even if they are not labeled negligent by police or prosecutors.

Jun 12 2013

Chicopee police under investigation

Dr. Q

The Republican reports that the mayor of Chicopee has appointed “a special investigator to review police department operations in the wake of several incidents.”

This means there are three new incidents that will eventually be added to my police misconduct database.

First, five officers have been accused of sharing cell phone pictures of homicide victim Amanda Plasse with people who do not work for the police department.

The mayor said there is some concern the disclosure that the photos made their way outside the department — and that a police officer lied about the distribution during an internal investigation of the matter — could jeopardize the prosecution of the case should an arrest be made.

“We will not let a murderer out on a technicality,” [Mayor Michael J.] Bissonnette said.

Bissonnette said he was not informed of the incident until recently and that the five officers involved were not disciplined save for letters of reprimand that were placed in their files.

“It’s the kind of thing that shocks the conscience,” Bissonnette said, adding that the photos were taken as Chicopee police secured the apartment in anticipation of the arrival of state police investigators. Bisseonnette said investigators and computer experts believe the cell phone photographs of Plasse did not go beyond that narrow group, or onto the Internet.

Bissonnette said the Plasse family has been made aware of the photo-sharing incident. Family members were not immediately available for comment Monday.

Hampden District Attorney Mark Mastroianni has reviewed the matter and determined that no laws were violated with the sharing of the photos, Bissonnette said.

The article also mentions a separate incident that is under investigation “in which one officer aimed a loaded gun at another officer at police headquarters,” but includes no specific details.

And the article mentions that investigators will be looking into allegations of sexual harassment within the department, but includes no specific details about the alleged harassment.

May 24 2013

Sheriff’s lieutenant negligently allows police dog to fire gun

Dr. Q

Here’s a story from earlier this year that I missed (via CNN):

So, the police charged three guys with gun-related crimes, but the police chief interviewed in this video just laughs about the fact that a sheriff’s lieutenant negligently fired a gun in a residential area.

The CNN article actually mentions that this police dog was specifically trained to “paw” at the things it finds, so why exactly is it being used to find guns? If you train a dog to touch potentially loaded guns with its paws, what do you think is going to happen?