Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

Arrest Warrant And Criminal Investigation Lead To Police Shooting In Somerville MA

Tuesday night there was yet another shooting in the Boston area. This time it was in Somerville. By the time it was over, a police detective was wounded and a young man was dead. So far, there is nobody to label “Defendant” in this one. The young man, Mathew Krister, 21, (hereinafter, the “Deceased), is said to be the assailant.

This would tend to take blame away from the detective, so one would expect that he will not be charged with anything. Self-defense, after all, is applicable during an assault and battery with a gun.

The two knew each other prior to Tuesday night, though. In fact, the officer is said to have “talked” with the Deceased about the subject of gun possession while a pending investigation was taking place. According to friends and family of the Deceased, he was wanted by law enforcement officials and a warrant was out for his arrest. According to family friends, he had been talking about turning himself in.

But the shooting occurred before that could happen.

According to law enforcement, federal and local police approached the Deceased and he fired at least three shots at Somerville police Officer Mario Oliveira. Police would not say how many shots were fired back or how many officers fired.

The officer is said to be in stable condition.

According to Police Chief Michael Cabral, “It’s just amazing, the spirit [Officer Oliveira’s] in”!

That sure is a relief!

Cabral said Oliveira has received many commendations in his nine years in the department and has twice received the Chief’s Achievement Award for being the officer of the year. Oliveira has been praised for rescuing a mother and her infant from a burning apartment building, and for leading an investigation of a document fraud ring
Attorney Sam’s Take:

I was obviously not at the shooting and have no personal knowledge as to how it went down. The confrontation does, however, bring to mind the background of many cases which I have handled.

Often, there is a history between a given suspect and one or more police officers. Usually, the history is not one of friendship.

One would imagine that, since police officers are professionals, such backgrounds would be professionally handled on the part of law enforcement. This, unfortunately, is not always true.

Often the backdrop is bitter and personal. Sometimes it is connected with a dispute between families. Sometimes it is based upon a given police officer’s knowledge or just feeling that said prey is up to no good. I have seen a number of matters wherein this history results in said suspect feeling followed around and even stalked by said officer…on and off the job.

“Well, what’s the problem with that, Sam? If the guy is a criminal, isn’t the police officer simply keeping us all safe?”

Maybe. Sometimes. But I did not say that the suspect is, in fact, a criminal. I must remind you that, sometimes, police officers are incorrect in their assumptions. Often, the suspect has no prior record and, if one looks more deeply into the situation, it is clear that the suspect is doing nothing wrong.

The problem is that the officer has decided that the suspect either did, or is doing, something criminal. When the presumptions are made, they are very difficult, if not impossible, to unmake them. Particularly if the continued stalking (a word that would be used if the stalker had not been dressed in a blue uniform) has led to angry confrontations. By then, it is personal, and it no longer matters whether the suspect either had, or is doing something criminal.

When a police officer has decided that you are a “bad guy”, all future events will be viewed accordingly.

If you have been so labeled and wish to discuss it with me, please feel free to call me to arrange a free initial consultation at 617-492-3000.

To view the original story in which parts of this blog were based, please go to : http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/11/04/officer_man_in_shootout_knew_each_other/?p1=Local_Links

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