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Suspended police chief's wife says he never hit her

Posted by Tom Coakley  June 24, 2013 04:45 PM

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By Jaclyn Reiss, Globe Correspondent

Andrea LaCroix, wife of suspended Waltham police Chief Thomas LaCroix, testified at her husband's assault trial Monday that he has never attacked her.

"My husband has never laid a hand on me. Ever.'' she said in Concord District Court where he faces charges that he assaulted her and her friend Shannon Policano on June 12 last year,.

Andrea LaCroix's testimony came after Policano told the court that she witnessed Thomas LaCroix slam Andrea's head into a kitchen countertop at the LaCroix's Maynard home. Policano also testified that LaCroix told her on June 12 last year that "Tom beat the (expletive) out of me."

Another of Andrea's friends Claire Coen testified Monday that she saw Andrea with a swollen lip and bruises on her body around the time of the alleged assault.

But Andrea said that whatever injuries she suffered came because she attacked her husband on June 12 last year in the midst of an argument and ended up falling down and injuring her tail bone.

Andrea LaCroix said that the argument started because she had broken a date with her husband the night before, which the couple has set up in order to spend more time together in the midst of their busy schedules.

But the dispute escalated as he drank 10 beers, smashed her laptop and kicked a ceramic vase.

"I elbowed him, pushed him, fell sideways and fell on my butt,'' LaCroix answering question from defense attorney Thomas Drechsler.

"He never hit me,'' she said.

LaCroix testified that she had told Policano that she and LaCroix had argued for eight hours and that she was "sick and tired of beating the subject to death."

Andrea LaCroix testified on the third day of her husband's trial. She is scheduled to resume her testimony Tuesday.

Thomas LaCroix, who is on paid leave from his job, was arrested June 14 last year by Maynard police.

On Monday, two police officers from Maynard and one from Waltham, who works with the department's stress unit, testified about how LaCroix tried to keep from being taken into custody when he was arrested last year, causing the Maynard officers to struggle to get him in handcuffs and into the back of a cruiser.

"He said, 'Come on guys, is this necessary,' and I stated that yes, it was necessary," said Maynard police Det. Paul Maria.

LaCroix has pleaded not guilty and is free but wears a an ankle monitoring bracelet to make sure he doesn’t go near witnesses in the case.

Earlier Monday, Coen testified that Andrea LaCroix was distraught on June 13 last year while at work at TJX corporate headquaters in Framingham.

Coen said LaCroix was crying and walking slowly as she ushered Coen into a company conference room, where she lifted up her pant legs and rolled up her sweater sleeves to show several bruises. Coen said LaCroix complained of back pain.

"She pointed out her lip was swollen, and I saw swelling in her arms and legs," Coen testified before a jury of eight men and one woman. "She had her head down and was wearing a lot of makeup, and she had her hair in her face more than usual."

Coen didn't mention whether Andrea LaCroix told her who inflicted the bruises and other injuries on her.

But in testimony Friday, Policano said that Andrea LaCroix had arrived at her house on June 12 with a bloody and swollen lip and had told her: "‘Tom just beat the [expletive] out of me,”

Policano also testified that when she and Andrea went to the LaCroix home to retrieve Andrea's cell phone and some clothes, Thomas LaCroix grabbed his wife and slammed her head into a the kitchen counter. He then lunged at Policano causing her to stumble backwards down some stairs.

Drechsler has argued that the description by Policano of what occurred on June 12 last year has been exaggerated and made into town gossip.

Coen said LaCroix "agreed" to go to Newton-Wellesley Hospital with her, and they walked into the emergency room around 10:30 a.m., where LaCroix changed into a hospital frock and showed doctors her back.

However, in cross examining Coen, defense lawyer Drechsler read from medical records that showed that, other than "tenderness" in Andrea's tailbone, doctors and nurses reported Andrea was physically fine, including her mouth and extremities.

"I did not see them examine her arms or legs," Coen said, noting she was with LaCroix during the whole exam except for an x-ray.

Phone records presented Monday by prosecutor Suzanne Kontz showed that Thomas LaCroix called his wife's cell or work number several times June 13 - in the morning, most calls were only two or three minutes apart - and also placed over a half-dozen calls to Coen, who noted she was Andrea's close friend for about seven years and was friendly with her husband as well.

Coen said during those calls June 13, the then-chief of police told her: "It's not my fault she weighs what she does and flies across the room." Coen said LaCroix also said over the phone, "I don't know my own strength" and "She lost so much weight that when I pick her up and push her she goes 15 feet in the air."

Because LaCroix has been on paid administrative leave he has continued to collect his $146,305 annual salary. Last year, he collected $182,358 in salary and other benefits, including a $16,814 longevity bonus he received after he was arrested, according to city payroll records.

Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy previously told the Globe that the suspended chief could lose his job if he is found guilty on the criminal charges, as well as if the city finds that his conduct was in violation of Police Department rules.

However, McCarthy said, no matter what the verdict is in the criminal case, the city must conduct an independent investigation in order to dismiss LaCroix from the force, and the investigation can be completed only after the trial.

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at

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