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.

BOSTON POLICE OFFICERS ARE CLEARED IN DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S REPORT INSTEAD OF CHARGED WITH HOMICIDE

You have seen the headlines. You have heard the newscasts.

Sometimes it almost seems like there is a war going on between regular civilians and local police departments. Sometimes, it is law enforcement who ends up the victim of a homicide. Other times, it is the civilian.

Is there a way to stem this tide? More importantly to this particular blog, is there any way to protect you from its result?

It is not simply in Massachusetts. It takes place all over the country. The Boston Globe recently had a story from New Florence, Philidelphia. The news discussed a man who was suspected of fatally shooting a police officer who had been responding to a domestic dispute. Apparently, there had been some kind of “shoot out” as the suspected shooter was, himself, wounded by a gunshot.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, the Globe explained the news about a Chelsea police officer who had been investigated for the question of deadly force.

According to the Globe’s article, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office revealed the findings of the final report regarding the investigation.

According to the report, law enforcement encountered Dominic Graffeo, 56, inside his apartment on Hawthorne Street in June, 2014. The police say that Mr. Graffeo acted violently toward them and so, to calm the situation, they used the taser on him.

The tasing apparently killed him.

The officers had responded to the location because of a 911 call reporting that Mr. Graffeo was smashing things in his room and “going crazy”. When the police arrived, Mr. Graffeo allegedly refused to let the officers in and blocked his door with furniture.

Mr. Graffeo was not a stranger to law enforcement. According to the manager of the building, police had previously removed him from the premises at gunpoint. He also had a prior criminal record for assaulting police officers.

The local fire department provided a ladder by which an officer climbed to the window and witnessed Mr. Graffeo, shirtless, sweating and bleeding . What took place next did not exactly help his A parents

As officers began to force Mr. Graffeo’s door to open, he is said to have thrown various items at them, including bottles, a fan and a dresser drawer. They say he also refused to put his hands in the air as ordered.

The officers deemed it was “taser time”. However, as one officer fired a taser at Mr. Graffeo, he blocked one of the prongs of the Taser. And so it was that another officer fired his Taser which apparently made sufficient contact with the target. However, Mr. Graffeo is described as continuing with his throwing objects and kicking at the officers, resisting the handcuffs they were trying to put on him.

Finally, Graffeo was tasered in “drive stun” mode, meaning he used a Taser directly against his body instead of from a distance, so police could control him. According to the report, they were then able to handcuff him… Then, they took the handcuffs off because they noticed signs of distress.

According to the report, the officer is and paramedics made various attempts to recessitate Mr. Graffeo. These attempts failed and he was pronounced dead at Whidden Memorial Hospital in Everett.

According to the medical examiner, the cause of death was “ ‘sudden death in a person with acute cocaine, ethanol, and oxycodone intoxication following an altercation with police involving the use of electronic control devices and physical restraints’ and the manner of death to be homicide”.

The medical examiner also noted that Mr. Graffeo’s heart disease and obesity contributed to his death, and that “extended physical exertion” also probably played a role, according to the report.

“Based on a thorough review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the police response and Mr. Graffeo’s death, I conclude that there is no evidence that would warrant criminal charges against the involved officers, who acted reasonably and lawfully, with due regard for both public safety and Mr. Graffeo’s well-being,” proclaimed District Attorny Connely.

Attorney Sam’s Take On The Insertion Of Police Action

“Hey, Sam, interesting stories. But, what do they have to do with me? I have often read you say not to fight with the police… And I don’t. So, how can I benefit from reading this?”

Read my next post and I’ll tell you.

Tomorrow.

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