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Somerville fires police officer accused of assaulting teen

Posted by Alix Roy  April 7, 2010 04:50 PM

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A Somerville police officer accused of beating up a local teenager in 2006 has been terminated from his position.

City spokeswoman Jackie Rossetti on Wednesday confirmed patrolman Marcus Freitas had been let go, but would not say what prompted his firing after nearly eight years of employment.

“Mr. Freitas is no longer an employee of the City,” she wrote via e-mail. “I cannot comment further on Personnel issues.”

Freitas has been embroiled in a civil lawsuit in federal court for the last two years stemming from an incident in 2006 in which he allegedly slapped a 15-year-old Somerville boy and hit him with a heavy object as another officer held him down in handcuffs. According to the lawsuit, which was filed in US District Court by the boy's mother, Gerard Contaldi was kicking a recycling bin with his friends when an intoxicated Freitas yelled at him and later assaulted him.

There were no records of disciplinary action against Freitas or any of the other police involved in the court documents.
 
Contaldi suffered injuries including a bloody nose, abrasions on his face, and a swollen black eye, according to the lawsuit, which names six other Somerville officers as defendants based on their alleged participation in the “curbside punishment” delivered to Contaldi.

According to court documents, US District Court Judge George O'Toole ordered the case dismissed on April 1 provided a settlement between the two parties is reached within 45 days. If the settlement is not reached within the allotted time, the case will be reopened, the documents state.

Howard Friedman, a Boston attorney representing Contaldi, declined to comment on the case or Freitas's termination.
 
In the original complaint, the plaintiff sought punitive damages as well as reimbursement for legal fees.

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