Seven current Springfield, MA, police officers and one former officer were charged Wednesday for misleading investigators looking into a bar fight that happened in 2015 involving several off-duty police officers, bringing the total current and former officers with charges stemming from the fight to 14.
According to the Associated Press, Attorney General Maura Healey’s office and the FBI’s Boston office announced the new charges on Wednesday. Six of the officers involved had previously been charged with assault and battery.
Mass Live reported that the DA found that 2015 fight began when a civilian got into an argument with a group of off-duty police officers, one of whom thought that the civilian was whistling at his then-girlfriend, who was also an officer at the time. There was a verbal argument, and later in the night, the victims allege that the group of cops attacked them in a nearby parking lot.
The officers charged also attempted to cover up the attack. From Mass Live:
According to the department’s internal investigation of the incident, six of the officers indicted for allegedly lying about the incident — Nguyen, Lewis, D’Amour, Gentry-Mitchell, Bortolussi and Perez — were not involved in the altercation but were on-duty and responded in uniform to the scene.
Nguyen authored the initial police report on the incident, filing a brief account that did not mention the allegation that off-duty officers were involved in the right (sic) and understating the extent of Cumby’s injuries.
“All appear to have some type of minor cuts and scrapes about their hands and faces,” officer Darren Nguyen’s report said. “[They] were offered medical attention. AMR arrived on scene to render services and all refused further medical treatment at the hospital. Mr. Jozelle and others couldn’t describe their attackers and was very uncooperative.”
Cumby had actually suffered a fractured leg and had teeth knocked loose, according to medical records reviewed by MassLive.
The six officers previously charged had been placed on administrative leave. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno didn’t respond to AP’s request for comment on the working status of the officers charged.