SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – 12 Massachusetts police officers are under investigation for allegedly beating a group of men outside the Nathan Bills Bar and Restaurant in Springfield back in April of 2015
Hampden County District Attorney Spokesman Jim Leydon confirmed to 24-Hour News 8’s sister station, WWLP, that his office is handling the investigation.
Marian Sullivan, a spokesperson for Mayor Domenic Sarno’s office, said the city is aware of the investigation, and City Solicitor Ed Pikula has released the following statement:
“In follow up to the inquiry, as shown on the report of the Community Police Hearing Board, (CPHB) the citizens’ complaint was thoroughly investigated by the Police Department’s Internal Investigating Unit (IIU) and is pending a hearing before the civilian board. The investigation report was presented by the Police Department to the CPHB for civilian review January 22, 2016 in accordance with the Mayor’s Executive Order issued in 2010 and as amended.
The CPHB recommended to the Police Commissioner that all officers involved, including the off duty officers involved who were at the bar as well as the officers who responded to the scene, be issued notices of disciplinary charges. The civilian board also recommended a hearing on the charges. Commissioner Barbieri followed the recommendation of the civilian board. Charge letters were issued and a hearing is pending. In addition, the Police Commissioner asked the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office to review the matter.
Where so many officers are involved, it is not unusual that the investigation process, including obtaining records and the review as to potential criminal charges, can take a long time to sort out. As to requests to comment on the details of the allegations of the individuals who filed the complaint, the Police Commissioner has informed the Mayor that he will be relying on the Community Police Hearing Board to hold a full hearing and determine the facts as to what actually occurred and whether there is just cause to discipline any of the officers involved.
As to the employment status of officers while charges are pending, you should note that Civil Service law, G.L. c. 31, the Civil Service law, and the Collective Bargaining Agreements with the Unions, set forth the disciplinary process. Under Civil Service law no officer can be suspended for more than five days without a hearing in accordance with the disciplinary process and a determination after the hearing that there is just cause for the discipline imposed and the hearing date in this matter has not been set yet due to the review of the DA’s office.”