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'Yet Another Black Eye' For The Springfield, Mass., Police Department

Police cruisers in Springfield, Massachusetts.
File photo
The Republican / masslive.com
Police cruisers in Springfield, Massachusetts.

In our look at the week's news, the investigation of a 2015 fight outside a Springfield, Massachusetts, bar that involved off-duty police officers keeps evolving. 

This week, 14 current and former officers were indicted by a grand jury with either assault charges, or for trying to cover up the assault. Those charges were announced by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey — whose office had been referred the case by the Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni, who had declined to press charges.

Springfield City Council President Justin Hurst is calling for Gulluni to resign. That was after MassLive reported Springfield police missed crucial security video evidence during their initial investigation.

"I think that the DA has been trying to say, 'There’s only so much I can do here, locally,'" said panelist Mike Dobbs, managing editor for The Reminder newspapers. "And by turning it over, and referring it to the attorney general, Maura Healey, I think that he's hoping that it would be a more thorough investigation. The other thing that turning it over to AG Healey would do is it would sort of depoliticize the entire thing."

Panelist Susan Bigelow, a columnist for CT News Junkie, said Mayor Domenic Sarno deserves more scrutiny under the circumstances.

"He's ultimately responsible for the police, and for what the police do," she said. "And so the police in Springfield, the police department, has yet another black eye.... Most of the police in Springfield are doing a fine job, and they do very well. But if this keeps happening, if there are still reports of police misconduct, then something really does need to be looked at. The police need some kind of reform at that point."

Also this week, the father of a victim of the 2012 Newtown school shooting was found dead from an apparent suicide. Jeremy Richman was 49 years old. It happened not long after two students who survived the Parkland school shooting also took their own lives.

And a push to ban single-use plastic bags is gaining steam at the state level in several New England states. In Connecticut this week, a legislative committee voted overwhelmingly to proceed with a bill that would ban single-use plastic bags starting next year, and a Massachusetts committee is holding a hearing on a similar proposal Tuesday. Yet many towns in both states have already taken their own measures.


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Jill Kaufman has been a reporter and host at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent 10 years at WBUR in Boston, producing "The Connection" with Christopher Lydon and on "Morning Edition" reporting and hosting. She's also hosted NHPR's daily talk show "The Exhange" and was an editor at PRX's "The World."
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