Transit Police Officer Indicted for Beating a Homeless Man
Boston, MA– A Transit Police officer has been indicted on assault and battery charges for beating a homeless man with his baton, Universal Hub reports. Two of the officer’s superiors are also charged in attempting to cover up the assault. A Suffolk County grand jury indicted transit police officer Dorston Bartlett, 65, for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and violating a person’s civil rights. Bartlett was placed on leave and retired shortly after the investigation began. Sergeants David Finnerty and Kenny Orcel were charged with making a false statement as public employees. The sergeants were placed on leave during the investigation.
After the initial report was filed (in which Bartlett and his superior officers alleged that he was attacked by the man), officials reviewed the security camera footage from the Ashmont T station. Based on what they saw, they ordered the man released from custody and began a criminal investigation into the actions of the Transit Police.
Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green said in a statement: “Words cannot express the extreme disappointment I have in the officers who violated the victim and the public’s trust in such an egregious manner. However I refuse to allow the corrupt actions of these individuals to tarnish the vast majority of the men and women of the Transit Police who day in and day out wear their badges and perform their duties with honor and integrity.”
The Boston Globe reported on Anthony Watson, the 32-year-old homeless victim in the case. Last July, Watson was roughly awoken on the Red Line at Ashmont Station by a Transit Police officer. Watson had been drinking, and he had passed out. The officer grabbed him to pull him off the train. Watson says he was cooperative in making his way off the train, but that he did ask the officer why he was grabbing him so hard. At that point, Watson says the officer started beating him with a baton on his ankle.
Watson said he was initially reluctant to come forward publicly, due to his embarrassment about his situation. But then he thought that maybe by sharing his story, he might be able to help other victims and prevent such incidents from happening in the future. Homeless people are a vulnerable population, and crimes against them often go unreported. Watson says he is grateful to the official who reviewed the security footage and sought justice for him. He is currently on a waiting list for housing.
Image via Wikimedia