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Patrick takes sweeping disciplinary actions in Bridgewater State Hospital death

Joshua Messier died at a state hospital.
Joshua Messier died at a state hospital.

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Governor Deval Patrick on Saturday announced sweeping disciplinary measures against three prison guards and three high-ranking Department of Correction officials for the roles they played in the 2009 death of 23-year-old Joshua K. Messier as guards attempted to restrain him at Bridgewater State Hospital. Patrick formally reprimanded Correction Commissioner Luis S. Spencer for his inaction in Messier’s death, which was ruled a homicide four years ago. He also called for the resignation of Assistant Deputy Commissioner Karen Hetherson from her $117,000-a-year job for overruling a 2011 report that cited two guards for misconduct. Patrick placed three guards on paid administrative leave, saying at least two should face disciplinary proceedings for improper use of force. “Mr. Messier’s death was tragic,” Patrick said. “When tragedies happen during this administration, I expect the responsible officials to get the facts and deal squarely with them. That did not happen here.”

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