Prosecutor issues list of 136 officers accused of misconduct
BOSTON (AP) — Boston’s top prosecutor on Friday released the names of more than 130 police officers who have been accused of discrimination, corruption or other misconduct that could undermine their credibility as court witnesses.
In releasing the list, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said the public deserves to know when the credibility of a police officer is called into question. While most officers provide exemplary service, she said, some have been accused of actions that are “harmful, or potentially harmful to the community and the criminal legal system.”
“In these uncertain times we as a nation find ourselves in, with so much tension and mistrust between law enforcement and the communities we are sworn to protect, we must maintain credibility in everything we do,” Rollins said in a statement.
It marks a major expansion of the county’s list of officers whose credibility has been challenged. Of 136 officers on the updated list, more than 115 have been added in the last year.
Police officers can be added to the list if they have been investigated for criminal conduct in any jurisdiction or if they have been investigated for discrimination based on race, national origin, sexual orientation or other characteristics. They can also be added if they have been investigated by their agency’s internal affairs or anti-corruption units.
The list includes 70 troopers from Massachusetts State Police and 54 officers from Boston Police, along with smaller numbers of officers from five other agencies. State Police and Boston Police officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The database, known as Law Enforcement Automatic Discovery, will be updated regularly, Rollins said. Names will be added when prosecutors learn about investigations, and names will be removed if officers are cleared of misconduct.
“If testimony provided by prosecution witnesses is suspect then the criminal legal system itself is suspect,” she said. “All of us in law enforcement must be beyond reproach because what we do impacts matters of life, death and freedom for the general public.”
The Supreme Court has ruled that prosecutors have a constitutional responsibility to share information that cold be favorable to defendants in criminal cases, including evidence that could undermine a witness’ credibility. It’s often called the Brady rule.
Rollins is among a group of reform-minded district attorneys releasing lists of accused officers in an effort to make the criminal justice system more transparent. Police unions in some states have responded to the lists with lawsuits to prevent the release of the names.