MBTA Transit Police

Ex-T police sergeant charged with lying about officer assaulting man

A man was assaulted by an MBTA Transit Police officer at Dorchester's Ashmont Station in 2018, and the supervisor has now been charged — for the second time — with making false reports about what happened

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A former MBTA Transit Police sergeant was arrested by FBI agents Thursday for allegedly filing false reports over an officer's assault of a man at a Red Line station in Boston in 2018, federal prosecutors said.

The arrest renews the prosecution of David Finnerty, 47, who was previously charged in state court for allegedly making a false report as a public officer or employee in the beating of an unhoused man at Ashmont Station in Dorchester. A new district attorney dropped the charge last year, The Boston Globe reported.



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Finnerty, of Rutland, pleaded not guilty in federal court in Boston Thursday to two charges of false reports. They involved the illegal assault that an officer he oversaw carried out on a man at Ashmont Station in Dorchester early on July 27, 2018, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for Massachusetts.

The former officer transit officer has been accused of filing false reports about a Red Line assault.

Federal prosecutors didn't identify the officer who they said assaulted the man without justification at the station about 1:47 a.m. They said Finnerty made a false arrest report and gave false information at a shift briefing.

But the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office has previously identified the officer as Dorston Bartlett of Lynn, charging him with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and violating a person's civil rights for allegedly using his baton to repeatedly hit a 32-year-old man. Bartlett was also charged with misleading a police officer for allegedly giving false statements to two Boston police officers who later responded to the scene, as well as assault and battery for allegedly grabbing and pushing the man during the booking process.

A former MBTA transit officer is accused of attacking a homeless man, and two of his superiors are accused of covering it up.

Finnerty, then 43, was also charged at the time, along with another supervisor, Sgt. Kenny Orcel, of Chelmsford. Both pleaded not guilty later that month.

Those charges were brought by Rachael Rollins, who left the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office to serve as U.S. attorney for Massachusetts. She later resigned amid an ethics investigation.

The man who replaced Rollins, Kevin Hayden, dropped the case against Finnerty in October, according to the Globe, saying new evidence had come to light. In the wake of that decision, the newspaper reported, Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green said he would no longer refer police corruption cases to the office.

Asked for comment Thursday, a representative for Hayden said the office wouldn't comment on a pending federal case.

Finnerty violated his oath, said Jodi Cohen, who oversees the Boston FBI bureau, in a statement Thursday.

"Make no mistake, the FBI will do everything we can to help our law enforcement partners bring to justice anyone who violates their oath by trying to cover up civil rights violations, overshadowing the majority of officers who are dedicated, honest, and fully committed to enforcing our laws and building trust within their communities," she said in a statement.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy said his office, which prosecutes federal crimes in Massachusetts, holds police officers "in the highest regard."

"Instances of police misconduct are rare, but they need to be investigated and prosecuted when they do happen, especially when supervisors are involved as alleged here. For the good of the community and all the honorable officers and supervisors in the police ranks, misconduct of this nature cannot be tolerated. I commend the leadership of the MBTA Transit Police for their sustained cooperation in this investigation," he said in a statement.

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