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Testimony continues in suspended Waltham police chief's trial

Posted by Tom Coakley  June 21, 2013 04:45 PM

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By Jaclyn Reiss, Globe Correspondent

Shannon Policano testified Friday that she visited Maynard Police headquarters three times the night she allegedly saw suspended Waltham Police chief Thomas LaCroix attack his wife Andrea at their home last June, but did not report the assaults because LaCroix threatened to kill her and her family.

"I was scared to death,'' Policano said in Concord District Court where Thomas LaCroix is on a trial for allegedly assaulting his wife and Policano at hiis home in Maynard on June 12 last year.

Policano said she also didn't report the alleged assault because Andrea LaCroix had asked her not to do so since Thomas was the Waltham police chief at the time.

But defense attorney Thomas Drechsler questioned Policano's state of mind that night in cross examining her Friday.

Drechsler asked how scared she truly was as he quoted text messages from that night where Policano and her friends used lighthearted lingo like "LOL" while discussing the situation. He also noted that she had a friend over to drink wine and smoke cigarettes that same night.

And he wondered why Policano drove by the LaCroix house later that night to see if Andrea was there.

"If you were so afraid of this man, why did you leave your house, where your children were sleeping, get in your car, and drive to the LaCroix residence, where this man was?" Drechsler asked.

In questioning Policano on re-direct, however, prosecutor Suzanne Kontz pointed to texts from that night in which Policano spoke of the seriousness of the alleged assault..

In one text Policano tells her sister: "I don't think you understand it's pretty serious." And in another text about the alleged assault she said: "This is a nightmare."

Policano's testimony came in the second day of the trial before a jury of eight men and one woman. The trial resumes Monday.

In her testimony Policano described how Andrea LaCroix showed up crying at her doorstep on June 12 last year.

She said that LaCroix had a bruise on her lip and a little bit of blood on her mouth.

Policano said when she asked Andrea what had happen, LaCroix said ‘Tom just beat the [expletive] out of me.”

Policano said she gave Andrea a towel and some ice and she and Andrea when to the LaCroix house a mile and a half away to retrieve Andrea's cell phone and some clothes.

Thomas LaCroix was in the kitchen holding the phone and when Andrea tried to get it, Policano testified, Thomas grabbed her and slammed her head into the kitchen counter. Thomas LaCroix then lunged for Policano, causing her to back up and trip over some stairs, she said.

Policano’s testimony came a day after Drechsler told Judge J. Elizabeth Cremens that he intended to call Andrea LaCroix as a defense witness.

In a brief interview between court sessions Thursday, Andrea LaCroix confirmed that she will testify in her husband’s behalf.

“My husband is not guilty,’’ she said. She declined to provide any more information.

Drechsler said that the only injury that Andrea LaCroix suffered at the time of the alleged assault was a bruised tail bone which happened because she fell.

Following the alleged attacks, LaCroix was arrested by Maynard police and charged with assault. He is on paid administrative leave from the Waltham department.

LaCroix has pleaded not guilty and is free but wears an ankle monitoring bracelet to make sure he doesn’t go near witnesses in the case.

Because LaCroix has been on paid administrative leave he has continued to get his $146,305 annual salary. Last year, he collected $182,358 in salary and other benefits, including a $16,814 longevity bonus he received after he was arrested, according to city payroll records.

Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy previously told the Globe that the suspended chief could lose his job if he is found guilty on the criminal charges, or if the city finds that his conduct was in violation of Police Department rules.

However, McCarthy said, no matter what the verdict is in the criminal case, the city must conduct an independent investigation in order to dismiss LaCroix from the force, and the investigation can be completed only after the trial.

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com



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