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Chicopee mayor announces review of police

June 11, 2013

CHICOPEE, Mass. (AP) — An outside investigator will review the Chicopee police department’s handling of several incidents including the sharing of crime-scene cellphone photos of a homicide victim, the mayor said Monday.

Mayor Michael Bissonnette made the announcement at a news conference where he named Thomas Charette as the western Massachusetts city’s new police chief.

The Springfield Republican newspaper reports (http://bit.ly/12BfXBy) that Bissonnette said he was not informed of the photo-sharing incident until recently and that the five officers involved had been reprimanded after an internal investigation during which an officer lied about the distribution. He said it’s not believed that the photographs of a 20-year-old woman stabbed in 2011 went beyond a narrow group, but he wants to be sure the incident would not hinder prosecution of a suspect if there is an arrest.

“It’s the kind of thing that shocks the conscience,” Bissonnette said.

The Hampden District Attorney has found the officers didn’t violate any laws.

The mayor said he’s also concerned about an incident in which an officer allegedly pointed a loaded weapon at another officer at police headquarters. He didn’t provide details. Bissonnette said he’s also concerned that there should be “fuller” investigation of unspecified sexual harassment.

The mayor said Springfield lawyer John Pucci, a former federal prosecutor, will investigate and report back in 90 days.

Bissonnette, mayor for eight years, said the probe isn’t “a witch-hunt” and he and Charette have confidence in the city’s police.

Charette was named acting chief when John R. Ferraro Jr. retired in June 2012 after 20 years as chief. Charette said he asked for the review to “clear the air.”


Information from: The Springfield (Mass.) Republican, http://www.masslive.com/news/

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