A Massachusetts State Police trooper who fired his gun at a group of dirt bike and ATV riders on Interstate 93, leaving one of them injured, has been suspended indefinitely as internal affairs investigate whether or not he made racist posts online.
State police ordered that Trooper Matthew Sheehan be suspended without pay as they try and determine if he was the author of posts made to an online forum.
In a press release, state police wrote, "the tone and content of the posts in question are contrary to the standards of conduct expected by the State Police of its members."
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The department said that they will take further action against Sheehan following the investigation if it is warranted.
Sheehan was already on leave following last months shooting of 28-year-old Aderito Monteiro.
The Boston Globe first reported that Sheehan made racist posts on the website "MassCops," dating back to 2012.
"The fact that those posts and the vulgarity of them date back five, six, seven years — this is not an isolated incident. This is an ongoing collection of thoughts and comments that have no place in law enforcement, no place in public discussion, no place in our community, period," Gov. Charlie Baker said following the Globe report. "If those posts were issued by someone of the state police that are clearly a violation of the code of conduct, he or she should be fired."
Using the screenname "Big Irish," the Globe reports that Sheehan included information that has been verified as his own. Big Irish's posts ranted about criminals and people of color, using terms like "deadbeats," "baby's momma's," "gang banging," "EBT receiving," "non GED getting" and "crack smoking." The user referred to people attending a vigil after a police shooting as "None of Your Bidzness Rapper's Delight Association."
"[Expletive] the people of Mission Hill and Roxbury!! They don't give a rats ass about us," Big Irish wrote in one post.
Authorities are still investigating the Feb. 24 incident in which he fired his weapon at a group of 23 to 25 riders of off-road bikes, motorcycles and ATVS on Interstate 93. Officials say those suspects were riding recklessly through Boston, resulting in multiple 911 calls. Police confronted the group on the highway, and Monteiro allegedly drove his ATV at Sheehan before the trooper fired.
Monteiro sustained a minor foot injury and was arrested on charges that included negligent operation, failure to stop for police and disorderly conduct.
Monteiro was ordered held on $2,000 bail.