Maury Paulino

On November 18, 2009, 19-year-old Maury Paulino went to the Boston Police B-2 station to bail out his friend, Pablo Guerrero. After paying the bail and waiting for about 15 minutes, he saw Guerrero enter the lobby of the police station followed by Officer Seth Richard. The two were in the middle of an argument. Officer Richard allegedly shoved Guerrero and Paulino told him that they should leave. Officer Richard continued to shove Guerrero as he exited the station through the front door.

Once they were outside the police station, Officer Richard, now joined by officers Nicholas Onishuk and Richard Davis, approached Guerrero to arrest him again. The three began shoving Guerrero repeatedly and threatened to pepper spray him. It was at this point that Paulino pulled out his cell phone and began recording what was going on.

While the three police officers arrested Guerrero and sprayed him with pepper spray, Paulino asked them why they were using so much force.

As the officers brought Guerrero back into the police station, Officer Richard asked the other officers for a second set of handcuffs so he could arrest Paulino. Officer Richard allegedly tackled Paulino at this point.

While Paulino was on the ground, the three officers were joined by Sgt. James Moore, a supervising officer.

Officer Richard began punching Paulino in the face, dousing him with pepper spray, and kneeing him in the face. While this was going on, none of the other three officers attempted to intervene.

Once Paulino was bailed out of jail by his mother, he went directly to the ER at Boston Medical Center where he was treated for multiple injuries to his face, jaw, and mouth including bruising by his toothline and jawline, abrasions on his neck, bleeding from his mouth, nose, and lips, and laceration on his scalp. Paulino was also spitting up blood from his injuries.

Paulino was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, and felony wiretapping.

Paulino’s suit was filed just months after a federal appeals court ruled that the right to openly record police in Massachusetts is clearly established and police cannot claim “qualified immunity” against lawsuits if they interfere with this right. That ruling stems from a similar incident in which attorney Simon Glik was arrested on a “wiretapping” charge by Boston police for recording an arrest with his cell phone camera on the Boston Common in 2007.

Paulino and Glik are just two of many individuals who have been wrongfully charged with “wiretapping” by Massachusetts police officers for exercising their right to record and document police activity.

The wiretapping charge against Paulino was dismissed by a clerk magistrate. Paulino was acquitted of all the other charges at trial.

On November 2, 2011, Paulino filed a lawsuit with the assistance of civil rights attorneys Howard Friedman and David Milton. The suit alleged that the four police officers were guilty of violating Paulino’s first, fourth, and fourteenth amendment rights by arresting and brutalizing him. The suit also named the City of Boston as a defendant “for failing to supervise and discipline Boston police officers, thereby permitting them to unlawfully arrest people for videotaping police officers performing their official duties in public.”

In June, 2012, the city reached a settlement with Paulino, agreeing to pay him $33,000.

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