A group of Springfield police officers allegedly assaulted four people after they left a bar in the city, and then multiple other officers allegedly tried to help them cover it up.
Now, 14 officers total are facing related charges, according to Attorney General Maura Healey and FBI Boston Division Special Agent in Charge Joseph R. Bonavolonta in a news release.
A statewide grand jury in Worcester indicted not just the officers — 13 current and one former — but also the owner and the manager of Nathan Bill’s Bar and Restaurant related to the incident that allegedly occurred back on April 8, 2015, officials said.
Six officers face four counts each of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon — shod foot, one count each of assault and battery — serious bodily injury, three counts each of assault and battery, and one count each of conspiracy. Officers facing these charges include Daniel Billingsley, 30, of Springfield, Igor Basovskiy, 34, of Springfield, Christian Cicero, 28, of Longmeadow, Jose Diaz, 54, of Springfield, Anthony Cicero, 29, of Hampden, and Jameson Williams, 33, of East Longmeadow. Also facing these charges is John Sullivan, 34, of Springfield, who owns the bar and restaurant, according to the release.
In addition, the release said John Sullivan and Diaz also face a charge of misleading a federal agent or investigator.
Seven additional officers face charges of perjury, misleading a police officer or investigator, and filing a false police report. The defendants include officers Darren Nguyen, 40, of Holland, Shavonne Lewis, 29, of Springfield, Derrick Gentry-Mitchell, 29, of Springfield, John Wajdula, 34, of Springfield, Louis Bortolussi, 57, of East Longmeadow, James D’Amour, 42, of Hampden, and former officer Nathaniel Perez, 27, of West Springfield, officials said.
Officer Melissa Rodriguez, 32, of Springfield, is charged with perjury, according to the release.
Joseph Sullivan, 42, of Hampden, who manages the bar, is charged with perjury and misleading a police officer, federal agent, or grand jury, the release said.
All 16 defendants are planned to be arraigned in either Worcester and/or Hampden superior courts at later dates.
The day of the incident, officials said six of the officers — Billingsley, Basovskiy, Christian Cicero, Diaz, Anthony Cicero, and Williams, all off-duty — and bar owner John Sullivan allegedly “physically assaulted” the four victims after they left the bar following a “confrontation.”
“The victims were allegedly beaten and kicked, and sustained significant injuries as a result of the assault, some permanent,” the release said.
The FBI and Healey’s office got statements from the victims and witnesses; they also obtained video evidence and phone records that helped identify the accused.
Then there was the alleged effort to cover up the incident.
“The AG’s Office also alleges that after the assault, nine Springfield Police officers as well as John Sullivan and Joseph Sullivan (no relation) were a part of a long-standing and ongoing cover up of the assault,” the release said, noting that during the investigation, John Sullivan allegedly misled the FBI while Diaz “gave misleading statements” to the Springfield department’s internal investigations unit. “Nguyen, Lewis, Bortolussi, Gentry-Mitchell, D’Amour, Wajdula, Perez, Rodriguez, and Joseph Sullivan all allegedly committed perjury by lying when testifying in front of the Statewide Grand Jury, and many of these defendants also misled authorities and/or filed false police reports during the investigation.”
The Springfield department’s acting commissioner, Cheryl Clapprood, said in a statement that all of the officers involved are suspended without pay while they await their court dates, and that she anticipates “disciplinary action” against each of the officers.
Statement from Acting Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood on today’s indictments. pic.twitter.com/XY7M0ZC1FV
— Ryan Walsh (@PIO_SPD) March 27, 2019