Boston Police Internal Probes Tied to Jan. 6 Still Ongoing a Year Later

The NBC10 Investigators first obtained internal police records naming two officers after the department withheld them for months

NBC Universal, Inc.

A year after the U.S. Capitol insurrection, the Boston Police Department said it continues to investigate complaints against two officers stemming from the violence on Jan. 6, 2021, and comments made in its aftermath.

Police records first obtained by NBC10 Boston last June named a pair of officers facing ongoing probes, details the department refused for months to release, citing the open investigations.

On Wednesday, department spokesman Sgt. Detective John Boyle confirmed the internal affairs cases remain open, but declined to provide further details.

“I’m disappointed and I’m also angry about that,” City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo said. “I think it sends a message that we have a problem with accountability at the Boston Police Department.”

The internal records show police launched an inquiry into officer Joseph Abasciano on Jan. 19 after he was publicly identified on Twitter as the author of a series of controversial posts about the insurrection.

Those posts from user @mailboxjoe have since been deleted. They suggested the writer was traveling to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, and accused Vice President Mike Pence of treason.

Police opened a separate investigation into officer Michael J. Geary after a caller reported on Jan. 7 that Geary posted a message to "entice violence" on Facebook, according to the documents.

The complainant, who asked to stay anonymous, said Geary wrote the message "rats get bats" in response to a post from the FBI seeking information about violence in Washington, police records show.

“Both of those things are fireable offenses. The fact that we’re a year out and don’t have any information on either of those things is a problem,” Arroyo said.

On Jan. 6, 2021, supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol during the certification of Electoral College votes. NBCLX Political Editor Noah Pransky brings you a timeline of the day and the aftermath.

Elsewhere, police throughout the country have faced sanctions connected with the Jan. 6 riot, including in Chicago, where a 29-year-old officer with the Chicago Police Department was arrested by FBI and CPD officers and charged with five misdemeanors, including violent entry or disorderly conduct at the Capitol, according to NBC News.

Off-duty officers from Houston, New York City, Seattle and Virginia have faced separate allegations.

During a City Council hearing last May, acting Commissioner Gregory Long told elected leaders he expected the investigations would be finished soon.

Citing the open probes, Boyle declined to provide insight as to why they continue to persist months later.

“Every investigation is unique,” Boyle said. “There is no timeline.”

Larry Calderone, the president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, said the union doesn’t comment on ongoing police investigations.

According to the department, Geary remains on active duty and Abasciano has been on injured leave with pay since last January.

NBC10 Boston first requested records from Boston police about misconduct probes shortly after the insurrection. Authorities declined to release them, saying it would compromise their investigations.

The station won two subsequent appeals to the state's supervisor of records, but it wasn't until the case was referred to the attorney general's office for enforcement months later that the department provided the documents.

Jamarhl Crawford, a community activist who served on the Boston Police Reform Task Force, said if such a high-profile incident moves this slowly, it only reinforces the notion about what happens when an average citizen complains about officer misconduct.

“If you are just Joe Blow and can’t get any action on your case, it’s no wonder,” Crawford said. “Even cases with media scrutiny and public outrage, there is still some sort of block that prevents BPD from moving swiftly.”

Contact Us