Revere officer may face dismissal

Chief says he fled after colleague was fatally shot

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Katheleen Conti
Globe Staff / April 17, 2008

REVERE - A police officer who officials said witnessed the fatal shooting of a colleague last year, then fled the scene and lied to investigators, has been recommended for dismissal from the force.

Two other officers present when Officer Daniel Talbot was gunned down may face disciplinary action, Revere city officials said.

In a letter dated April 4, Police Chief Terence K. Reardon recommended that Sergeant Evan Franklin, 36, be fired.

Mayor Thomas G. Ambrosino, who will decide whether Franklin goes, conducted a public hearing on the matter yesterday. After hearing testimony from both sides, Ambrosino said he expects to decide by early next week.

Franklin had been on paid administrative leave since the Sept. 29 shooting.

Last week, Reardon suspended Franklin without pay for five days, the maximum penalty for an officer the chief can impose.

Franklin is appealing the suspension, which ended yesterday, and the recommendation that he be fired, said his Boston-based lawyer, Neil Rossman. Franklin will remain on paid leave, pending Ambrosino's decision. If Ambrosino agrees with the chief's recommendation, Franklin could appeal through arbitration.

Talbot, his fiancée, Franklin, and Officers William Soto and Stacey Bruzzese had left a local restaurant and begun drinking beer behind Revere High School on Sept. 29 about 1:30 a.m.

For unexplained reasons, the group argued with a youth later identified as Derek Lodie, 18, who allegedly phoned and invited reputed gang member Robert Iacoviello Jr., 20, to the scene.

There, Lodie allegedly lured the officers toward a parking lot, where Iacoviello fatally shot Talbot in the head, prosecutors say. Lodie, Iacoviello, and a third suspect, James Heang, were captured after an exhaustive manhunt. They have pleaded not guilty to various charges and are being held without bail.

Reardon said in his suspension letter to Franklin - a copy of which the Globe obtained from the mayor's office - that the sergeant had misused his position and engaged in "conduct unbecoming a police officer."

"When Talbot went down, Officer Soto returned fire and you ran from the scene," Reardon wrote. "You took no action to observe what was occurring or to offer medical assistance. You took no action to summon police or medical personnel to the scene. Officer Danny Talbot died later that day."

Rossman, in a phone interview, said his client's actions should not be criticized because everyone in that group was impaired and lured into an ambush.

"Somehow the city's of the mind that he should've stayed, or at least when the shooting stopped that he should've come back," Rossman said.

"People react differently under different kinds of stress, and this was a frightening stress. The other two officers were armed. Sergeant Franklin was unarmed."

After running what Reardon described as "a considerable distance from the scene," Franklin came upon on-duty Officer Robert Impemba, who was on his way to the shooting scene, and asked him to drive him home, Reardon wrote.

"Instead of telling him about the incident, you used your position as a sergeant to get into his police cruiser and direct him to drive you partway home," Reardon stated. "When asked by him if everything was OK, you replied, 'Yup, see ya later.' "

Franklin never called the department to let them know he had been at the scene, and when State Police interviewed him later that morning, he lied about how he had gotten home and about his knowledge that someone had been shot, Reardon wrote.

Reardon said Franklin also violated department rules and state law on the proper storage of firearms by leaving his department-issued handgun in the rear of Soto's unlocked private vehicle while he joined the group at a restaurant and later outside the high school.

Additionally, Reardon called Franklin to task for not doing anything, "as the ranking and senior member of this group of officers, to discourage the public consumption of alcohol."

Franklin has been with the department for 11 years and was promoted to sergeant in 2005, said Captain Michael Murphy, department spokesman.

Someone with that experience could retire and receive a "minuscule" pension, Murphy said.

Reardon said in an interview after the hearing that he is contemplating disciplinary action against Soto and Bruzzese.

Any suspensions would be based on both officers' violations of public drinking laws, Ambrosino said in an interview.

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