The Boston Police Department has fired two officers, one who protested vaccine mandates at the mayor's house and other places and another who criticized former Vice President Mike Pence on social media for allowing the certification of President Joe Biden's election.
Sgt. Shana Cottone and Officer Joseph Abasciano were fired Monday for violating department policies, Commissioner Michael Cox said in a statement. A department spokesperson said their cases were unrelated.
Cottone was found to be in violation of multiple department rules regarding conduct, neglect of duty, respectful treatment of all and public criticism of the department, Cox said.
“Cottone’s conduct in these cases reflects a pattern and inability to adhere to the rules and procedures of this department," Cox wrote.
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Abasciano, who was previously investigated for his presence at a rally for former President Donald Trump before the Capitol insurrection, was found to have violated a rule that requires officers to conduct their private affairs so as not to reflect unfavorably on the department or in a way that affects their ability to perform their duties.
“While in the department’s employ, Abasciano authored a series of social media posts that called into question his ability to provide police services in an unbiased and objective manner," Cox wrote. Abasciano's conduct diminished the department's reputation and community trust, Cox said.
Abasciano, who has been on medical leave for job-related injuries, said in an email Tuesday he is exploring all legal options in the case and expects to be exonerated.
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“This is a clear cut case of political targeting, police/union corruption, retaliation and discrimination which ultimately boils down to my First Amendment rights being violated," he wrote.
He said was fired based on a "nonexistent social media policy."
Cottone told The Boston Globe that her firing was an attempt by the mayor's office to silence critics.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu told WGBH that she supported the decision.
"I support Commissioner Cox's decision to move forward with termination for these officers. Each has a separate set of actions that was detailed [and] investigated," Wu said in an interview.
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