Transit cop charged with beating man with baton at T stop; supervisors charged with helping cover it up

A Suffolk County grand jury today indicted a Transit Police officer on assault and battery and civil-rights charges for allegedly using his baton to repeatedly beating a homeless man at the Ashmont T stop - and charged two Transit Police sergeants for conspiring with the cop to try to cover up the attack, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office and Transit Police announced.

It's the second time in five years a Transit cop has been charged with beating somebody with a baton and then lying about it. In the earlier case, an officer was convicted of beating a woman at the Roxbury Crossing bus stop in 2014.

In today's indictments, Dorston Bartlett, 65, of Lynn, who retired as a Transit officer during the investigation, was formally charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and violating a person’s civil rights, the DA's office and Transit Police say.

Bartlett and sergeants David Finnerty, 43, of Rutland, and Sgt. Kenny Orcel, 55, of Chelmsford, who were his supervisors at the time, were charged with making a false report as a public officer or employee. Finnerty and Orcel were also charged as accessories after the fact to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Authorities charge that early on July 27, 2018, Bartlett not only beat a 32-year-old homeless man, he arrested him on a charge of assault and battery on a police officer.

In support of that charge, Finnerty allegedly drafted a report that was submitted by Bartlett and ultimately approved by Orcel. Later the same morning, a member of the Transit Police command staff learned of Bartlett’s use of force and reviewed both a preliminary draft of that report and video from public safety cameras at Ashmont station. Based on his observations, he ordered the victim released from custody, charges did not issue, and the criminal investigation was launched.

As part of the investigation, the two supervisors were placed on leave.

The three are scheduled for arraignment on the charges on March 27.

In statements, DA Rachael Rollins and Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green both expressed their disgust:

Rollins:

The conduct alleged in these indictments is unacceptable at every level. The charges reflect an unprovoked armed assault by a uniformed officer on a vulnerable member of our community, followed by a joint venture with supervising officers to cover up that crime. Actions like these undermine the hard work of countless honest, professional police officers and seriously erode trust in law enforcement. Crimes against public integrity are some of the most important that my office can bring on behalf of victims and our community, and I take them extremely seriously.

Green:

Words cannot express the extreme disappointment I have in the officers who violated the victim and the public’s trust in such an egregious manner. However I refuse to allow the corrupt actions of these individuals to tarnish the vast majority of the men and women of the Transit Police who day in and day out wear their badges and perform their duties with honor and integrity.

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Comments

Yup

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Think this was their first time?

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31

We have a new DA now

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The past doesn't matter. By charging this case, including the attempted coverup, Rachel Rollins is announcing that times have changed. This is the exact type of incident that cops always got away with for decades. She's putting dirty cops on notice.

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14

Yeah, except ...

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Another Transit cop was convicted just two years ago of basically the same thing.

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31

Has nothing to do with Rollins....

The Transit Police brought the charges to her. And they would have brought the charges to any DA. Rollins wouldn't have even known about it if it wasn't for the T police doing their own investigation.

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12

Question?

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Does he keep his pension?
Why was he allowed to retire and not terminated?
Why did management at the T tell the Herald the last few days that there was no problems with the homeless?
How many homeless have been beaten and the beatings covered up?
The Chief of the Transit Police sounds like Cardinal Law before the scandals blew up in his face.

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13

Transit Police are Unionized

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Retiring in lieu of termination is the standard at the T if there’s no property damage, injury and clean D&A. Heck, if he wanted to, he could sue to get his job back.

He will lose his pension if found guilty

Much easier to retire then it is to fire someone.

I don't know the Transit Chief, but do you fault the guy for actually bringing these charges? That is how you prevent cover ups, by actually charging criminal cops.

BPD and MSP have body cameras

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If they knew about these problems since last summer why didn't the Chief mandate that all transit officers be required to wear body cameras?

Correction

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BPD had a pilot involving around 100 officers, but that was awhile ago and while the city is planning on buying lots of body cameras this year, at present, no officers wear them. State Police is in the middle of a pilot involving 100 troopers.

You want to but 250-300 body

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You want to but 250-300 body cameras, video processing equipment, and hire several extra personnel to process the endless hours of video? That’ll be ANOTHER fare hike. They already have cameras everywhere which captured this event and the 2014 one, what difference will more cameras make?

Body cameras in Boston

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Ninety percent of the time Transit cops are not found underground they are up on the streets so yes they should have body cameras.Also on another subject channel 5 is reporting unlike the state or boston police they will be allowed to collect their pensions even if they are convicted.