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Medford police officers could face suspension after fight

Posted by Travis Andersen  August 6, 2009 10:58 AM

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Two Medford Police officers could face suspension after fighting last month during roll call for the night shift, according to Chief Leo Sacco, Jr. He expects a ruling by Friday.

Citing the ongoing probe, Sacco wouldn't name the officers but did say that one man punched the other during roll call on Sunday, July 26 at around 3:30 p.m., prompting a brief fracas before the other three officers in the room separated them.

"It was a matter of a one-punch situation," Sacco said, adding that investigators have seen a videotape of the incident and interviewed the officers who fought.

The officer who threw the first punch was sent home that night and remains on administrative leave with pay. The second officer has not been disciplined. Sacco said both men could face suspensions of at least five days without pay, though they'd have the option to appeal.

"Both officers are remorseful that it happened," he said. "They're both good officers."

Sacco identified the officer who threw the first punch as a 26-year-veteran of the force. He said that in May, the officer was barred from construction details for a year, after he violated department policy by placing himself on a detail in February. According to protocol, a sergeant or shift supervisor must schedule details, for which officers receive overtime pay.

"February is usually a quiet month for details, so a lot of people felt affected by this," Sacco said.

He didn't know if the detail incident sparked the roll call fight, but said the officer who threw the first punch may have been on edge after losing a year of assignments.

"You're talking several thousands of dollars that he'll be losing this year," Sacco said, adding that the officer may have taken offense at a detail-related joke. "Sometimes comments are made not at the most appropriate time."

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27 comments so far...
  1. Hmm... a fight between cops about who gets the lucrative details. Shoulda kept that one private guys.

    Posted by section77 August 6, 09 04:28 PM
  1. Hmmm...suspension?? How about charging him with ASSAULT! That's what would happen to anyone else...

    Posted by WhatsUp-- August 6, 09 04:42 PM
  1. Oh, great- another great example of police conduct. I don't care about the fight. What I do care about is why Medford is using my tax dollars and spending on details. We've been through this, and flaggers should be used, not police. Has anyone seen the roads in this city? They're a disgrace. Take the money saved from police details and start fixing the damned roads!!

    Posted by Frank August 6, 09 04:50 PM
  1. Medford police are such a disgrace!!! Here is another example of typical police behavior in Medford. As usual, the administration defends them. We need new administrative blood in Medford, ASAP!!!!!

    Posted by SJ August 6, 09 05:03 PM
  1. Lucky the officer didn't pull out his weapon and let a round go off. Maybe if they used flagmen, tensions wouldn't be so high. A year of no details must have been for more that just one messed up assignment especially since he is a veteran with twenty six years on the force.

    Posted by waterfront August 6, 09 06:06 PM
  1. If we used civilian flaggers like we should be, there would be no motive for a fight. When are voters going to force their elected reps to demand this?

    Posted by tonym August 6, 09 06:16 PM
  1. To all you concerned citizens of Meffa. Details have nothing to do with the disrepair of your city streets. Flaggers at an hourly rate of 37.00 dollars are indeed 3 dollars cheaper an hour. But when the 10% vig is lost, the city gets 10% of every penny spent on a detail, flaggers actually cost more money. Its just a few dollars more but every dollar counts, so im told. Ill take an extra cop on the street any day, plus they're cheaper. Who would have thought that.

    Posted by Joe August 6, 09 06:24 PM
  1. The documented evidence that one cop threw a punch at another in the line of duty, and the offending officer is given administrative leave WITH pay (i.e. a vacation)?
    You gotta love unions.

    Posted by Bill August 6, 09 07:11 PM
  1. "assualt"? Actually, it's battery but... YOU'RE SO RIGHT!!!!
    I'd already be in prison with my new "significant other", had I punched an officer.
    That's a really interesting topic!

    Posted by Todd Beaulieu August 6, 09 07:36 PM
  1. i smell A&B

    Posted by arthur August 6, 09 07:50 PM
  1. Listen to me Lemon, flaggers don't spend thier time chatting it up with traffic blocking buddys, sleeping in thier cruisers during overnight details and charging 8 hours time and a half for 2 hours work. Let me see, death, taxes and a Medford cop in trouble with the law. Is it the 1980's again?

    Posted by Jack Donaghy August 6, 09 07:54 PM
  1. $37 per hour for a flag man? Puleeeze. Not in a million years.

    Fuzzy math once again proffered by the pro-cop lobby!

    Posted by Blue Heaven 1 August 6, 09 08:02 PM
  1. Private companies pay for police detials morons. Every one wants flag men

    Posted by I dont care August 6, 09 08:28 PM
  1. Joe-
    37 dollars an hour for flaggers? Please. Check out the average rate for flaggers nationwide and get back to me. The figure you are using is related to one state- Massachusetts, the only state to have mandated police to do a job any 18 year old could perform.

    Posted by bob August 6, 09 08:34 PM
  1. Fighting? And these men carry guns? They need to be under the Barney Fife rule - one bullet and they can't out it in their gun until "Sheriff Andy" say so.

    Posted by acohen843 August 6, 09 08:51 PM
  1. Wow, these guys know the law and still do not seem to obey it. Yet we expect them to use good judgement in arresting folks in the community? It seems as if there are double standards. Perhaps triple standards.
    I bet no one else at role call saw anything, kinda like some closed ethnic communities, you know, the Sgt Schultz defense, "I see nothing! I know nothing"
    It does not appear these individuals are really all that qualified to be peace officers. But since they probably know the mayor, chief, etc, they are "entitled" to their current positions.

    Posted by kevin August 6, 09 09:15 PM
  1. It' s about time you realized it' s about money.
    Detail, detail, detail, more detail. Somewhere out there a terrible crime is happening but no police officers are present. They are too concern with working details because that' s easy money. Never mind why a police officer became police to begin with (to fight crime, hell no) We rather fight for details.
    Police officers are fighting details. They are not fighting crimes.

    Posted by Frank August 6, 09 10:59 PM
  1. It does sound like assault and battery...on a police officer. And if the officer isn't fired and given anger management counseling will he vent his frustrations out on ordinary citizens? Those in authority in Medford have to be held accountable for their outbursts and their fisticuffs

    Posted by unbelievable August 7, 09 01:09 AM
  1. now who's going to write pointless parking tickets in my neighborhood on a completely unpredictable basis?

    Posted by frankfurter August 7, 09 02:32 AM
  1. Hey frankfurter,
    Maybe if you tried parking legally and/or getting your parking permit, registering your vehicle, or getting your car inspected, maybe you wouldn't get those "pointless" parking tickets. If you did all of those things right you would complain that everyone in your neighborhood is parked illegaly and they should get a ticket, but since you don't, you yourself get a ticket and you still complain. Tickets bring in much needed revenue for the city since Medford gets slim to no state aid and is in a state of disrepair! It's actually quite funny, I've lived here for 40 years and have never once gotten a parking ticket. Hmmmmm? I guess I must follow the rules and act like a good upstanding citizen?

    Posted by sam August 7, 09 08:23 AM
  1. Meffa poliice officers are the best.

    Posted by jsut me August 7, 09 10:57 AM
  1. People are so quick to criticize when they think they know the details. This could and does happen in the private sector, and before you start saying they should be held to a higher standard, remember that they are in a high stress job and are only human.

    Posted by Dave marcus August 7, 09 03:03 PM
  1. Hi Dave Marcus,
    They HAVE to be held to a higher standard. Some officers, not all, but some policemen believe they are the law when they are, truly, here to "protect and serve." How is hitting a fellow officer, such a low standard, acceptable by you?
    More important, do you think hitting someone is acceptable behavior anywhere? If the public has to abide by rules, those in authority must abide by those same rules and more. They must set a good example.

    Mayor Menino wants to fire the cop who sent out the epithet via e mail in regards to the Gates case. He's correct - and that incident, as bad as it was, didn't go as low as to become violent. Violence by police? Unacceptable.

    Posted by unbelievable August 7, 09 07:04 PM
  1. I just read all of your postings on this article. Battery is right. The officer SHOULD have pursued criminal charges after being attacked. But instead of wasting department resources that are more needed on the streests, he decided not to. The fight was NOT about detail money, that would be even more ridiculous. Don't believe everything you hear. The cop that was attacked is a good, honest person who became a cop to protect all you jerks who criticize him,and call him for help when things go bad in this world. You all should be ashamed. It is SO very easy to criticize police officers and not ever walk 10 feet in their shoes, much less one mile.

    Posted by KnowsBetter August 7, 09 08:12 PM
  1. Where else can you start a fight and get sent home with pay?

    Posted by Joe August 8, 09 07:21 AM
  1. stop hiding their names. the public has the right to know who was involved.

    Posted by Anonymous August 9, 09 11:30 AM
  1. I really do NOT care about this incident - what I care A LOT about and that Chief Sacco did NOTHING ABOUT was the incident involving cops, some from Medford, terrorized private ciitizens on the roads over the whole flagging issue. The Woburn police chief was the only one with some xxxs to speak out against it and ask for discipline but Chief Sacco elected not to go after any of the Medford police on this issue. Some of them were in POLICE vehicles. This incident was UNBELIEVABLE and should have ended with cops in prison. Chief Sacco, we are going to remember that one long after we've forgotten about this little scuffle. Don't try to save face by acting tough on this while avoiding the real issues of cops terrorizing private citizens.

    Posted by anon a mouse August 9, 09 06:59 PM