Brockton’s former top cop faced a judge in Worcester District Court on Wednesday, arraigned on a negligent driving charge stemming from a three-vehicle wreck he caused in his department vehicle.
Emanuel Gomes entered a not guilty plea and was released on his own recognizance.
According to the Massachusetts State Police crash report, Gomes’ vehicle was traveling on the on-ramp from Interstate 495 to get onto Route 24 northbound in May 2021.
For an unknown reason, the report said, the chief veered off the ramp and struck a vehicle in the breakdown lane before side-swiping another car and causing it to flip on its side.
Three adults and a toddler went to the hospital after the wreck. The police chief refused medical treatment and got a ride home with a tow truck driver. The crash does not appear on his RMV driving record.
Following the hearing, Gomes did not answer NBC10 questions outside the courthouse about how the crash investigation was handled and whether he received any special treatment.
City leaders told NBC10 that Gomes was on his way to the scene of a drowning on that Saturday night. However, they never disclosed the incident to residents.
Brockton’s mayor defended the city’s handling of the crash, saying it “followed all appropriate procedures” when we reported the story last May.
Gomes retired in January after a 36-year year career with the police department and is now collecting a pension of $156,130.
A group of community activists calling for more police accountability in Brockton traveled to Worcester for the hearing.
“A lot of this could have been avoided if there was some simple transparency,” said Bri Nichols with the DARRC Coalition.
A private citizen with no connection to the crash ended up pursuing a charge against Gomes.
A hearing took place in July and the clerk magistrate ruled there was probable cause for the negligent driving charge to go forward.
The typically closed-door proceeding was opened to the public after the NBC10 Investigators successfully argued the accountability of a public official outweighed privacy.
“Thank you to NBC10 for being able to provide us with that transparency,” Nichols said. “We’re going to continue to show up to make sure we’re shedding light on things that happen in our community.”
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The case was transferred to Worcester to avoid a conflict of interest.
Gomes is due back in court in November, when his attorneys plan to argue a motion to dismiss the case.