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Hearing set for Malden police officer suspected of buying prescription drugs

Posted by Matt Byrne  September 21, 2012 10:00 AM

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The Malden Police Department next month will convene a disciplinary hearing for Officer Brian Killion, who was allegedly found to have purchased prescription painkillers from a Malden man charged in January with importing and dealing controlled substances.

Killion, 41, a nephew of the city's former mayor Richard Howard, was placed on paid administrative leave in June, said Christopher Fallon, the state representative for Malden who is also the attorney for the city's police patrolman's union. Fallon is representing Killion at the Oct. 11 hearing.

"They're accusing [Killion] of using these drugs, purchasing these drugs," said Fallon in a phone interview. "That will be the grounds for whatever disciplinary action they take."

The alleged drug dealer, Arthur Amato, of Acorn Street in Malden, was arrested in January, the target of a State Police investigation in which troopers tracked a package sent from Florida to Amato they allege contained prescription medication. 

Text messages found on Amato's phone about drug sales linked him to Killion.

Amato's case is pending in Malden District Court. Carmine LePore, Amato's attorney, declined to comment.

Killion has not been charged with a crime, and Fallon said there is little chance he will face prosecution.

Before Killion agreed to undergo questioning and blood testing, Killion asked that the state Attorney General's office and the Middlesex District Attorney determine if Killion would be subject to criminal charges, according to Fallon.

"The determination was made months ago that there would not be any criminal charges made against this police officer because the circumstances -- the circumstances didn't warrant it, in their opinion," Fallon said.

Reached at his Malden home, Killion declined an interview, and deferred questions to Fallon and the Police Department.

Malden Mayor Gary Christenson declined to answer questions on the case, and instead issued a statement in which he said the city and Police Department are taking steps to ensure the disciplinary hearing is fair.

"I can say that discipline is something the City and the Police Department take seriously," Christenson said in the statement. "We want to be fair to all parties and we recognize that, in addition to the public interest, there are certain personal rights that are at stake."

Christenson added: "In all situations, the goal of the City is to reach a decision that is correct and, if discipline is imposed, that can be defended if the decision is challenged."

In 2011, Killion earned $105,445.04, nearly double his $55,160.04 base salary, according to city payroll records. The compensation included $24,600 in detail and stipend pay, $9,825 in overtime, and $11,032 allocated through the state's Quinn Bill, which increases pay for officers who earn college degrees.

Outside Malden District Court after a recent appearance, Amato declined to comment when asked about Killion and how the two met.

In cases of alleged police misconduct the Malden police commissioner, Salvatore Gennetti, would traditionally preside over the disciplinary hearing. But because Gennetti was appointed to his position by Killion's uncle, former mayor Howard, the city and Police Department chose to bring in an outside hearing officer, Fallon said. It was unclear who would hear the case, Fallon said.

Gennetti, contacted by phone, declined to comment.

Fallon said the Oct. 11 hearing will likely be brief, and said if the outcome is not favorable to Killion, he expects to appeal to the state Civil Service commission or an arbiter. One of the penalties he could face is termination from the police force.

"[The hearing] is more procedural than it is substantive, and the city will present their case and there will be some discussions relevant to the facts," Fallon said. "It's generally a reading of the charges, what do you say about this, and here's what we're going to do."

Once a case of this nature is appealed, Fallon said, a second more detailed investigation begins.

Killion, with 18 years on the job, is two years away from becoming eligible for his pension, according to the city.

Matt Byrne can be reached at mbyrne.globe@gmail.com.

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