Commissioner Evans and Chief Gross Announce Findings of Investigation into Insensitive Video Made by Boston Officer

Today, Thursday, June 29, 2017 Boston Police Commissioner William Evans and Superintendent-in-Chief William Gross released the results of the internal investigation regarding an insensitive video that was made by a Boston police officer.

On Thursday, June 8th the department was made aware of a video that depicted Boston police officer Dennis Leahy and contained insensitive language. The video was immediately turned over to the Internal Affairs division who began an investigation. The officer depicted in the video was immediately placed on paid administrative leave pending his interview with Internal Affairs.

During the investigation, a second officer, Joseph DeAngelo, presented himself to Internal Affairs at which time he was interviewed and admitted to making and disseminating the video without the knowledge or approval of Officer Leahy. As a result, Officer Leahy was returned to full duty and Officer DeAngelo was placed on paid administrative leave on June 15, 2017.

Over the past week, Commissioner Evans, with input from Chief Gross, struggled with what would be the appropriate discipline for the clearly insensitive and immature behavior of officer DeAngelo. It was clear from Officer DeAngelo’s interview that he feels significant remorse for his actions and now realizes the impact that this video had on our community. Officer DeAngelo readily admitted to the conduct and has taken full responsibility for his actions.

Commissioner Evans and Chief Gross personally sought input from numerous trusted community leaders including, Darnell Williams of the Urban League, MAMLEO President Larry Ellison, Tanisha Sullivan, current president of the Boston NAACP, Michael Curry, former President of the Boston NAACP, members of the City Council including Ayanna Pressley and Andrea Campbell, Larry Mayes of the Civilian Ombudsman Oversight Panel, respected members of the clergy, Jack McDevitt from Northeastern University, several law enforcement executives including Chuck Ramsey from President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and Chuck Wexler from the Police Executive Research Forum and Officer DeAngelo’s supervisors and colleagues.  

As a result of this valuable community input, Commissioner Evans has determined that Officer DeAngelo will receive a one year suspension with six months to serve, the remainder held in abeyance for one year. He will undergo significant sensitivity and unconscious bias re-training. He will participate in recruit officer training on unconscious bias, meet with trusted community leaders and perform community service in our neighborhoods.  Additionally, the Commissioner will reissue the Department Rule on Non Biased Policing, and increase training on these important issues throughout the Department.

Officer DeAngelo provided a written apology to the community, and is sincere in wanting to continue his work as a Boston police officer. The department intends to use this incident as a teachable moment to remind all police officers the importance of recognizing unconscious bias and ensuring that they conduct themselves in a way that reflects positively on the department and the community they serve.

Officer DeAngelo, 28, is a four year veteran of the department currently assigned to District B-2 in Roxbury. This is his first sustained internal complaint.

Officer Leahy, 26, has been a member of the department since December 2015. He has no Internal Affairs history.

Click HERE to view Officer DeAngelo’s written apology.

Click HERE to view written copy of Officer DeAngelo’s Internal Affairs interview.

Click HERE to view written copy of Officer Leahy’s Internal Affairs interview.