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‘It was you!’ Traffic spat turned police coverup leads to questions for DA Hayden



An officer collected Leonor’s license and registration and walked back to his car. A few seconds passed. Then, the 911 tape captured the moment that a different officer, Transit Police Officer Jacob Green, walked up to Leonor’s car window. Green was now in full uniform, but Leonor recognized the face of the man in the green Honda.

“It was you!?” Leonor exclaimed, his voice half-yelp, half-question. “Why’d you pull out a gun on me?!”

This was the start of a coverup, happening in real time.

Green, a 22-year veteran of the Transit Police Department, went on to write Leonor a ticket for a marked lanes violation. He returned to the station and wrote two police reports, obtained by the Globe, saying that when Leonor initially approached his car he had grabbed his gun but kept it on his lap. And within about two hours of the incident, he started calling and texting another Transit Police officer, Kevin Davis, who then came forward to claim he witnessed the whole thing from his own car while off-duty.

The chain of events seemed unbelievable, at least in the eyes of the Suffolk district attorney’s office, which, headed in spring 2021 by Rachael Rollins, launched an investigation. Transit Police officials themselves found the incident troubling and had brought the matter to Rollins’s attention. In short order, her office tapped a prosecutor from the Special Prosecutions Unit to oversee the case, and a Transit Police investigator obtained a search warrant for Green’s and Davis’s phones. Police and prosecutors sought evidence to support charges including misleading a police investigation, filing a false report, and assault with a dangerous weapon, according to the warrant.

But then Rollins left the prosecutor’s office to become the US attorney for Massachusetts early this year and attorney Kevin Hayden was appointed by Governor Charlie Baker to finish out her term.

Under Hayden, the office seemed far less eager to pursue the case.

And now a Globe investigation into the incident has sparked a swirling controversy, with fingers pointed in all directions, and accusations of deception and lies lobbed back and forth among attorneys, police, and prosecutors.

Amid questions in recent days from Globe reporters, Hayden’s office assigned a new prosecutor to the case and offered a series of shifting and contradictory explanations for his office’s handling of the matter.

Hayden, who is running for election in a Sept. 6 primary, said he would return $225 in political donations made to his campaign by Green and Green’s attorney, Robert Griffin. Those contributions were made, records show, days after Griffin said he was told explicitly by Hayden’s top deputy that the office wouldn’t be pursuing charges.

Green, meanwhile, filed resignation papers.

Today, the matter remains murkier than ever, with Hayden’s office locked in a standoff with Transit Police and Griffin.

Hayden said in a statement that he inherited the Green case when he took office. “No charges were filed by the prior administration,” the statement said, adding that the “Green case remains open.”

Transit Police Superintendent Richard Sullivan said that his department believes the case warrants prosecution. Asked whether he believed Hayden’s office should handle it, he demurred. “No comment,” he said.

“The incorrigible criminal actions we allege Green and Davis perpetrated on the victim, and to a larger extent the citizens of the Commonwealth, are not representative of the men and women of the Transit Police Department who day in and day out serve our riding public with honor, integrity and compassion,” Sullivan said in a statement.

Leonor still wants Green to face charges. He says he’s traumatized, even starting to lose patches of hair. He worries that nothing will ever be done to hold Green to account.

“I’m running out of hope,” he said.

Prosecuting a fellow law enforcement officer can be a tightrope walk for district attorneys, whose offices work intimately with police. But when Rollins took office in 2019, her administration began to routinely cast a critical eye on the actions of law enforcement.

After the governor appointed Hayden to finish out Rollins’s term, Hayden suggested little would change on that score. “We have no concerns about engaging in the appropriate scrutiny of both police departments and police officers where there are allegations of misconduct,” he told the Globe in an April interview.

Behind the scenes, Hayden ushered in changes, hiring as his first assistant Kevin Mullen, a former prosecutor and a defense attorney who has represented troubled law enforcement officers and is the nephew of a retired Boston police superintendent.

The DA’s Special Prosecutions Unit, which often is charged with prosecuting law enforcement officials, lost nearly all its staff in the transition. Its three prosecutors left this spring, and Hayden has not yet filled those positions.

Hayden said the departures were due to attrition, saying the prosecutors simply left the office for other jobs.

“These departures are in no way a reflection of the office’s handling of cases involving law enforcement officers,” Hayden said in a statement.

The district attorney’s office has other law enforcement cases left pending from Rollins’s tenure. Hayden’s administration confirmed it has open investigations into a Boston police captain and another officer, both accused of excessive use of force.

Hayden, who declined to be interviewed for this story, said in a statement that his office “has not ended any investigations of police misconduct cases inherited from the prior administration.” Through a spokesman, Mullen declined to be interviewed.

Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden took over the office when Rachael Rollins became the US attorney for Massachusetts. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

The case that kicked off the current controversy began at around 3 p.m. on April 11, 2021.

Jason Leonor was driving on Blue Hills Parkway in Milton headed toward Mattapan, coming home from a memorial service for his younger brother, who died suddenly in his sleep at 29. The car in front of him was driving slowly, he said, so he passed on the left, then returned to his original lane of travel. When he looked in his rearview mirror at the next red light, he saw the other driver taking a photograph or video through his windshield. Leonor got out of his vehicle and approached the driver.

Leonor said he knows he should have stayed in his own car. But, he said, he has a large following on social media, and he was worried about what the driver behind him was going to do with the photo.

When Leonor got close to the other car, he asked the man twice why he was taking photos. The driver, he said, rolled down his window and pointed a handgun at him.

“Get the [expletive] back!” the driver shouted, as Leonor recalls it. Leonor complied, ran back to his car, and called 911. “A guy pulled a gun on me!” he told the operator as soon as the line picked up. “He’s in a car, he’s right behind me!”

Leonor didn’t know it, but the driver was off-duty transit officer Green, in his personal vehicle and wearing a sweat shirt over his uniform, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the Globe.

In reports Green wrote after the incident, he described Leonor’s driving as “unsafe” and said Leonor almost caused an accident. Green said he took a photo of Leonor’s car, and then saw Leonor open his car door “violently.” Leonor “charged at my vehicle … screaming at me,” he wrote.

“I was in fear of an imminent attack,” Green wrote. “I removed my firearm from my off duty holster and held it on my lap.” He said he did not identify himself as a police officer.

After the initial encounter, both men continued driving toward Mattapan. Green radioed another officer to pull Leonor over, according to the search warrant affidavit, then, back in uniform, walked to Leonor’s driver’s side window. Despite Green’s allegation that Leonor drove dangerously and accosted him in traffic, Green cited him only for a marked lanes violation — a citation that was ultimately thrown out.

On the 911 recording reviewed by the Globe, Leonor can be heard protesting. Green’s voice is not audible on the recording.

“You did pull it out! It wasn’t even in your holster, sir, you pulled it out!” Leonor says. “Just because he’s an officer it’s my word against his. It’s not right.”

Back at the police station, Green’s own supervisors were skeptical of his version of events.

According to the search warrant affidavit by Transit Police, cellphone records show that about two hours after Green and Leonor’s encounter, Green called Davis, his friend in the department. Shortly afterward, Davis produced his own report, in which he claimed to have watched the entire interaction between Green and Leonor from his own car, when he was also off-duty.

Davis said in his statement that he thought Leonor was going to assault Green, according to the affidavit. But instead of getting out of his car to help, Davis said, he stayed inside his car to act as “a witness.”

Transit Police officials fired Davis for his role in the incident, saying in the termination announcement, “nothing can be more dangerous to our society or more destructive to TPD than to have a police officer conspire to coverup what may be criminal activity by another officer.” Davis is also under investigation by the DA’s office for his role in the matter.

A spokeswoman for the US attorney’s office said that Rollins declined to comment. But Rollins, in a Twitter post Friday in response to news of federal charges filed against Louisville officers in the Breonna Taylor case, said that when district attorneys fail to prosecute police accused of wrongdoing “it erodes the public trust.”

Green has spent the last 14 months on paid leave. In early August, Green formally notified the department of his intent to resign in September. Attorneys for both Green and Davis declined to comment about the facts of the case itself.

But about the prosecution of the coverup, stories abound.

Transit Police officials say the case was headed toward prosecution, with a grand jury planned for April, but that Hayden’s office scuttled the case without explanation and never returned their phone calls.

The attorneys for the accused transit officers say they were told explicitly in April by Hayden’s top deputy, Mullen, that the case was over and done with — Griffin filed a sworn affidavit in Boston Municipal Court saying as much.

But Hayden’s office initially said none of that ever happened at all, that the case was never anything but open, and that Griffin’s affidavit is “not true” — an accusation that, if proven, could get Griffin disbarred. Hayden’s office said it was “determining appropriate steps to take with regard to this matter. We take very seriously any act by a member of the bar — whether by a prosecutor, a defense attorney or any other attorney — that calls into question the integrity of legal proceedings.”

Griffin, told by the Globe that Hayden’s office was challenging his affidavit, stuck by his account and provided further details.

“Kevin Mullen’s exact words were, ‘I have no appetite to prosecute this case,’” said Griffin. “I’m not going to walk in and file an affidavit in court that I know it has false information in it. It’s ridiculous. I could get disbarred for that.”

Griffin shared with the Globe text messages he exchanged with Mullen; a Globe review found they support his version of events. Davis’s attorney, Anthony Riccio, said Griffin told him about his conversation with Mullen back in April. Riccio said he had his own conversation with Mullen on April 29 in which Mullen told him his client was unlikely to be prosecuted, and shared an e-mail he wrote in May to another attorney describing that conversation.

In response to questions from the Globe, Hayden’s office gave three different responses on this point. Hayden’s spokesman first said that Mullen never told Griffin that Green was not going to be charged, and that Griffin’s affidavit was untrue.

When told by the Globe that Griffin stood by his account, Hayden’s office amended its response to say Griffin had correctly recounted Mullen’s literal words, but misunderstood their meaning. Mullen was discussing a jurisdictional issue, not case merit, Hayden’s office said. The issue, he said, was whether the case should be prosecuted in Suffolk or Norfolk Country.

Asked about Hayden’s new version of events, Griffin was succinct. “That’s bullshit,” he said. “I understood exactly what they were saying.”

Later, Hayden’s office sent a third update, saying a clerical mishap led to an omission in its original set of answers: The office meant to say its general counsel had spoken to Griffin and Mullen and determined Griffin misunderstood Mullen.

Griffin called the latest amendment “pure spin, and dishonest.”

“I’ve known Kevin Hayden for 25 years,” Griffin told the Globe. “I was his supervisor when I was in the DA’s office. We were friends. As I was with Mullen.”

Griffin and Riccio both said they were contacted by Hayden’s office a few weeks ago, out of the blue, and were advised that a prosecutor was being assigned to review the case. Late last month, just a few hours after the Globe began asking questions about the case, Hayden’s office assigned yet another new prosecutor to the case, according to a document reviewed by the Globe.

Hayden’s office said the decision to assign a new prosecutor was made in early July, and that the prosecutor was assigned the day before the Globe sent its questions.

Riccio said the moves make no sense. “The district attorney’s office seems to be flip-flopping a lot,” said Riccio. “Representations have been made and now it seems that they are backtracking.”

And finally, there is the issue of the money.

Both Griffin and Green donated to Hayden’s reelection campaign. Griffin gave $100 on April 7, and Green gave $125 on April 20, days after Mullen allegedly signaled that he had no desire to prosecute. Griffin said his donation had nothing to do with the Green case — he has long been a supporter of Hayden, he said, and attended a fund-raiser for him just a few weeks ago. Green’s lawyer did not make him available for comment.

On Wednesday, after the Globe asked Hayden’s campaign about the donations, a representative for Hayden said his campaign had moved to return both Griffin’s and Green’s donations, calling them a “potential conflict of interest.” The representative said Hayden did not solicit the donations, and said the campaign had no record of any communication between Hayden and Griffin or Green about the donations.

But Griffin said that wasn’t true. “Kevin Hayden solicited that donation himself, from me,” said Griffin. “He asked me for financial help. I didn’t make that on my own. He called me.”

Hayden’s campaign then said Hayden may have forgotten making the call.

While Hayden’s office, the Transit Police, and the officers’ attorneys try to determine what will become of the case, Leonor replays his encounter with Green over and over in his mind. When he realized the officer at his car window was the same man he saw point the gun at him, all Leonor wanted was to disappear. The feeling hasn’t left him.

“I’m scared of this world,” he said in a recent interview inside his apartment, where he spends almost all of his time.

Leonor isn’t looking for a lawsuit or money. He wants justice. He wants to know if Green has treated any other people this way.

Leonor never used to be afraid of police. He knew police corruption was real, but he didn’t think it happened in Boston. And if the justice system doesn’t, in the end, help him, he at least wants to warn people.

“I want to be heard,” he said. “I want people to know that it is happening in Boston. … It’s not only happening on TV, on social media. It’s happening right where we live.”

Evan Allen can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @evanmallen. Andrew Ryan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @globeandrewryan.

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Former union boss Paul Mullett ‘hung out to dry’ by Victoria Police, appeals court told




Among the senior police involved in Operation Briars were Graham Ashton and Simon Overland – both of whom later became chief commissioners – and Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius. The royal commission heard Operation Briars used Gobbo to elicit information from one of the detectives about the Chartres-Abbott murder.

Schoff said on Monday minutes of the Operation Briars meetings showed senior police discussed in the Operation Briars meetings an investigation into a police union delegate who was in 2007 suspected of misusing the force’s email system under the alias “Kit Walker”.

Shane Chartres-Abbott in 2003.

Shane Chartres-Abbott in 2003.Credit:Andrew De La Rue

Plans to question the delegate over the emails were a source of tension between Mullett and Nixon as their working relationship deteriorated.

But Schoff said the only documents produced from the Briars meetings to Mullett were those related to the “Kit Walker investigation”, and that the disclosure of other documents would “explain the gaps” in what was discussed at the meetings.

“We’ll be asking your honours to infer that the reason these documents weren’t produced when they were clearly relevant, nay critical, was because they revealed that Nicola Gobbo was deployed by Briars and, more importantly, that Overland, Cornelius and Ashton knew at this early stage she was a human source, and they were seeking to use her,” Schoff said.

The barrister argued the failure to disclose relevant documents denied Mullett the chance to prove he was the victim of a plot to get him out. Mullett argues he was the victim of a malicious prosecution and Nixon and the other defendants engaged in public misfeasance against him.

“This is one of the exceptional cases where the administration of justice calls for an inquiry into why the documents were not disclosed and an opportunity for Mr Mullett to have a fair trial [was denied],” Schoff said.

Mullett, former assistant commissioner Noel Ashby and former police media director Stephen Linnell were all charged with perjury over allegations they gave false evidence to the then Office of Police Integrity in 2007 over the alleged leaks. Ashby was acquitted and Linnell was convicted, but that was overturned on appeal.

Schoff said the three men were “hung out to dry in the OPI”.

Lawyers for the respondents called on the court to dismiss the appeal, and argued Mullett had failed to establish that he would have won his civil trial had the documents been disclosed.

They also argued that if granted the right to appeal, a retrial would have little chance of success.

Richard Knowles, QC, said Nixon was never involved in the decision to prosecute Mullett, and that Walshe and Taylor were never part of Operation Briars.

Knowles said it was “hard to understand” how the lack of disclosure of documents before Mullett’s civil trial should be “sheeted home” to his clients, when some came to light only after the case.

Ian Freckelton, QC, said the state and Victoria Police were not parties to the original proceedings and were not obliged to produce documents.

The Court of Appeal reserved its decision.

The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.

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Pittsburgh man arrested after leading state police on car chase in Kittanning




A Pittsburgh man has been arrested after leading state police on a chase in Kittanning early Sunday morning.

At around 1:30 a.m., state police attempted to pull over Jeffrey Ledonne, 42. Ledonne then fled the scene in his vehicle, according to state police.

During the car chase, Ledonne allegedly slammed on his brakes multiple times to strike the police cruiser, police say.

Ledonne then stopped his vehicle and fled the scene on foot. Police followed him and used a Taser on him.

Ledonne, who had outstanding warrants, has been arrested and placed on a $75,000 bond.

He was treated at Armstrong Center for Medicine & Health after the incident for prior meth use, police say.

According to court documents, Ledonne has previously faced felony charges for endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors and theft.

Maddie Aiken is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Maddie by email at or via Twitter .

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Police in sex trafficking | Local News




Trinidad and Tobago may have become a destination for sex trafficking, an activity which is said to have intensified even as national borders were closed in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Police officers, customs, immigration and coast guard personnel are said to be compromised in the burgeoning of such activities. Disclosures of these activities are contained in the latest report from the US Department of State.

“Traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Trinidad and Tobago, and traffickers exploit victims from Trinidad and Tobago abroad. Trinidad and Tobago also serves as a transit point for Venezuelan refugees and migrants en route to Europe, North Africa and elsewhere in the Caribbean,” says the latest report from the US monitoring agency on this critical issue.

In the closing chapters on this country in the 2022 report, probers said an unnamed international organisation reported that 21,000 foreigners, 86 per cent of whom were Venezuelan nationals, were registered with this organisation, for asylum or refugee status in Trinidad and Tobago. This is just in the 12 months between the last report and the latest update.

“Trinidad and Tobago closed its borders due to the pandemic from March 2020, but an international organisation reported Venezuelans continued to arrive in large numbers on a daily basis,” the report said.

“Unaccompanied or separated Venezuelan children are at increased risk for sex trafficking. Many victims enter the country legally via Trinidad’s international airport, while others enter illegally via small boats from nearby Venezuela. Migrants from the Caribbean region and from Asia, in particular those lacking legal status, are at risk for forced labour in domestic service and the retail sector. Sex trafficking victims are women and girls primarily from Venezuela, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Guyana,” the report said.

Underground system

The report added that traffickers offer employment in brothels and clubs, including via social media-which increased because of the pandemic. It said NGOs reported that some victims from a December 2021 raid had been forced to recruit other victims. “Some trafficking networks operated through businesses acting as cover for trafficking operations,” it said, adding that they also work on exploiting women and girls from such far-off destinations and the Philippines, the People’s Republic of China, India and Nepal, along with others from St Vincent and the Grenadines.

In July 2021, the report said 30 Cuban medical professionals followed a May 2020 group of 12 Cuban medical professionals to the country to assist with pandemic response efforts.

“Cuban medical professionals may have been forced to work, by the Cuban government. Corruption in police and immigration has been associated with facilitating labour and sex trafficking. Observers report that law enforcement and security officials are implicated in trafficking, including coast guard officials who facilitate the transit of women and girls from Venezuela to the country.”

The report listed information its authors collected as to the way this underground system works.

It had said also that the country’s oversight bodies and outside observers had alleged that law enforcement and security officials continued to be complicit in trafficking. It said a study funded by a foreign organisation and conducted by a foreign company reported that ten per cent of the police force was under active investigation for misconduct, including trafficking.

“Immigration and customs officers who ensure that women and girls arrive and receive entry, and members of the police who accept bribes to facilitate transport to houses across the country and work with brothel owners to protect their establishments from police raids, particularly in the southern police districts where most Venezuelan refugees and displaced persons attempt to enter the country.

“Transnational organised crime with a link to megabandas — large criminal gangs with more than 50 members who are part of transnational organised crime networks in Latin America – may increasingly be involved in trafficking.

“Traffickers coerce victims into exploiting their friends or associates in trafficking through fraudulent promises of gainful employment. Trinidad and Tobago is likely a sex tourism destination. After the country closed its borders in March 2020 due to the pandemic, recruitment shifted to online platforms, more victims arrived by seas through illegal points of entry, and trafficking moved from brothels, spas, salons and bars to private, clandestine locations,” the report concluded.

It had also said that LGBTQI+ persons were equally at risk for sex trafficking.

Positive action

On a more positive side, however, the report highlighted other actions which the Government has been taking to address the issue. It referred to the establishment of a National Task Force against trafficking. This included ten agencies and five NGOs, co-ordinated through national efforts. It said the Government had also consulted with NGOs, international organisations, foreign embassies, religious bodies, a university and survivors.

This included efforts to identify official complicity in trafficking crimes. It said the policy was still pending Cabinet approval at the end of the period by which this report would have begun, but agencies began its implementation.

“The Government sought the input of survivors in its policies. In June 2021, the Minister of National Security established a Strategic Working Committee, which met bi-weekly to address policy and operational issues affecting the Counter Trafficking Unit and its partner agencies,” the report said.

It said the CTU submitted quarterly reports and an annual report to the task force for approval, but that the Government did not make these reports available to the public.

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