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4 Boston Policemen Placed on Leave

October 30, 1998 GMT

BOSTON (AP) _ Nearly four years after an undercover police officer says he was beaten by colleagues who mistook him for a shooting suspect, four officers being investigated for the attack have had their badges and guns taken away.

Officers Ian Daley, James J. Burgio and David C. Williams and Sgt. Robert A. Dwan were placed on paid administrative leave while the department completes its investigation of the beating of Michael Cox.

Cox was one of several officers who responded to a call of a shooting at a restaurant in 1995. One caller falsely reported an officer had been shot, sending police swarming over the area.

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Cox, dressed in jeans and a black hooded sweatshirt, spotted a suspect and gave chase. He said he was just about to grab the suspect, who was scaling a fence, when he was struck from behind.

Several officers kicked and beat him on the ground, he said. When they realized he was a police officer, they ran away.

Cox suffered a concussion, facial cuts and kidney damage, spending the next six months out of work.

A department injury report stated Cox lost his footing on a frozen puddle, causing him to fall and crack his head.

Cox has sued in federal court, charging his civil rights were violated. The disciplinary action against the officers comes just weeks before Cox’s lawsuit against the department, Daley, Williams and Burgio is scheduled to go to trial.

Burgio and Daley deny involvement in the beating. Lawyers for Williams and Dwan did not return calls Thursday.

Cox’s lawyer, Stephen Roach, said the timing of the suspensions was a tactical maneuver by the department to demonstrate at the trial that they have disciplined the offers involved. The department disagreed.

``Clearly that’s not the case,″ Police Commissioner Paul Evans said. ``I took action when I had sufficient evidence.″

Evans said his investigation has been hampered by the fact that most officers refused to cooperate with investigators. Federal prosecutors took over the investigation last year and one officer, Kenneth Conley, was convicted in June of perjury and obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to 34 months in prison.