Early Sunday morning, a Boston police officer used an everyday occurrence, an Uber ride home in the wee hours, to help his department advance its community relations with a groundbreaking new strategy: meet with members of racial minorities, then insult and beat them.
According to a police report obtained by DigBoston of events that began at 2:45am, two responding officers answered a radio call “that a taxi driver had been beaten by a passenger at E 1st @ Farragut Rd.” in South Boston.
It all started when the driver “picked up a white male … who was with [another] unknown white male at 200 Hanover St.” in the North End.
He then “drove the unknown white male to Charlestown and was then asked to take [the second white male] to E 2nd in South Boston.”
But when they arrived at that address, the “suspect stated they were in the wrong location.”
The “suspect then stated ‘[You] think I’m stupid you fucking spic’ and told the victim to continue driving.”
Sounds like the kind of misunderstanding that could happen to anyone! We might speculate that perhaps this off-duty officer, having imbibed some spirited beverages, was a little hazy when he initially gave his address, then got just a touch assertive in telling the driver how to complete the journey.
With the car stopped at E 2nd and M Street, the report says “the suspect began hitting the victim.” The Uber driver said he then removed his seatbelt and exited the vehicle, only for the suspect to begin “chasing the victim around the motor vehicle.”
With the victim “attempting to stop passing traffic to assist him,” an “unknown black male” lent a hand. “When the victim went toward the male that stopped to assist him, the suspect entered the [victim’s]” car and drove off.
Isn’t that the can-do spirit we’re looking for in our public servants? See a problem, fix it hands-on. If you’re close to home and there’s a car sitting there, running, why not make use of it? It’s just common sense. Apparently the driver’s titular “owner” did not see it that way.
The victim then entered the vehicle of the assisting black male “and they followed the suspect,” who was driving the Uber toward Farragut Road, “where the suspect stopped.”
Once outside the stolen taxi, the suspect “approached both the victim and the male assisting and stated to the black male ‘[What] do you want you fucking nigger’ and began swinging at both parties.”
In the process the “suspect knocked the victim to the ground and began hitting him and the assisting male attempted to pull him off. They all struggled until the suspect observed blue police lights coming in their direction.”
Oh, good! These community-building exercises are more effective when you get more people involved.
The suspect then “stopped fighting and began to walk away.” At which point two MassPort police officers “arrived on the scene and the suspect walked away.” The Uber driver pointed at the suspect, but according to the police report he made an “escape” up P Street.
With the officer too modest to take credit for his acts of street diplomacy, his fellow cops were left to track him down using his Uber account. Officer Michael Doherty has only been with the Boston Police for 16 years, so he might not be privy to these deep investigative techniques.
At Doherty’s arraignment, he had stitches framing a black eye and a sling cradling his arm, and his attorney claimed his injuries showed that Doherty was in fact “the victim and not the perpetrator.”
Yes, certainly no one injured in a fight could have instigated it! This officer was merely trying to unite the city’s disparate constituencies into a harmonious tapestry when things went a little awry, and even though he felt victimized he did not contact the police. Those charges — assault and battery and operating a motor vehicle without permission — must be the product of an overzealous prosecutor. We assume that’s how the judge saw it, since Doherty was released on $500 bail with the only restriction that he stay away from the alleged victim. Oh, and he’s grounded from using Uber. Be on the lookout for this Friend of All People, Boston Lyft drivers!
Just in case you nervous nellies don’t like the idea of Doherty tooling around the streets of Boston with a badge and a gun: he’s on administrative leave while this all gets sorted out. They would’ve punished him by putting him on desk duty, but he was already there following another assault that took place back in June and which is, evidently, still being investigated.
Doherty’s bumpy foray into community relations included this bit of synchronicity: When he emerged from jail for his arraignment, he found his until-recently girlfriend in the very same courtroom to attend to “a different incident between the two of them in November.” And for that, we tip our hat to either the forces of cosmic coincidence or a South Boston District Court clerk with a sense of humor. Well done.
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