The City and State Police have recently settled a federal Civil Rights case with a family from Revere Beach Boulevard that came as a result of what appears to be an overzealous home search during the initial investigation following the Officer Dan Talbot murder.
The case involved two Revere Police Officers and two State Police Troopers and was arbitrated in federal court by a federal judge, concluding just this past March. The City agreed to pay the family $40,000 and the State Police also paid $40,000.
City Solicitor Paul Capizzi told the Journal that the case was handled by Attorney Gerry D’Ambrosio’s office.
D’Ambrosio was not immediately available for comment on the case, but Capizzi indicated that attorneys advised the City that the case might be favorable for the plaintiff.
“They told us our defenses were there, but maybe not adequate enough to meet a challenge,” he said.
So, instead of risking a jury trial in Federal Court, the City agreed to mediate the matter and arrived at a settlement. There was no wrongdoing admitted to and the matter was a Civil matter and not a criminal matter.
State Police Spokesman David Procopio indicated that the state preferred not to comment on the suit.
The case was handled rather quietly and was discovered this week by the media as it was disclosed during deficit spending discussions that were before the City Council.
Mayor Tom Ambrosino said it was a case that wasn’t out of the ordinary and something the City deals with from time to time.
That being said, the family’s attorney, John Day of Boston, laid out quite a set of allegations before the court.
In an amended complaint filed in Boston Federal Court last August, the alleged facts of the case are laid out in astonishing fashion.
On the Saturday morning after the Talbot murder, on Sept. 29, 2007, the family said they were relaxing in their Boulevard home when the mother heard voices in the backyard. She looked out the window and noticed police officers sneaking around their yard and trying to hide behind the garage.
She told her husband about the situation and they went outside to find out what was happening.
When they asked officers, the only comment was whether or not they had watched the news. When the family said they hadn’t, officers said they could not tell them what was happening.
The family alleged that they decided to go inside and call Revere Police. As they started to do so, the front doorbell rang and two officers began banging on the front door.
A Revere Police officer and a State Trooper were at the door, with the Trooper brandishing a long-barreled weapon. The father asked why they were there and he was allegedly told to “Open the [expletive deleted] door.”
Officers continued to be evasive as to why they were there and discussed the news coverage several times, of which the family alleged they had no knowledge of. They alleged that they had not heard any news yet and had no idea that Talbot had been murdered until some time after the entire incident unfolded.
Without invitation, officers allegedly entered the home and asked for the couple’s teen-age son. When officers allegedly learned that the son was upstairs showering, a Revere officer drew his weapon and ran upstairs to seek out the teen.
The family allegedly asked for a warrant repeatedly but were ignored.
When the father – who was quite concerned – tried to follow the armed officer upstairs, the State Trooper with the rifle stopped him.
The Trooper allegedly ordered the father to get down on the ground and told him that if he moved, he would be shot.
At that point, allegedly, a Revere Police officer and another State Trooper came running through the front door. They were allegedly the same officers that had been hiding in the backyard at the outset.
The Revere officer drew his weapon and also ran upstairs.
When the mother tried to follow the second armed officer upstairs, she was allegedly pushed down the stairs, allegedly injuring her elbow.
She allegedly called for help, but her husband was allegedly also still being held.
Police allegedly still refused to say why they were there.
When the mother made a second attempt to go upstairs, the Trooper subdued her with an arm grapple and put her to the wall – ordering her to get down on the floor.
To heighten the situation, the family’s dog – an even-tempered black Labrador – entered the area and Troopers allegedly threatened to shoot the dog unless it was removed immediately.
When the mother attempted to call Revere Police, in the midst of the recorded call the Trooper ended the call and allegedly threw the phone against the wall.
Upstairs, as the teen was getting dressed from his shower, armed police allegedly barged into his room and ordered him to the floor at gunpoint.
He was handcuffed and placed on the bed.
He pleaded with officers to tell him why they were there.
They only asked him if he watched the news, which he had not.
The two Revere officers made a few telephone calls, and after finishing those calls, they removed the handcuffs and left the residence.
All four officers allegedly left as quickly as they had come and allegedly without any explanation.
One Trooper is also alleged to have misidentified himself to the mother as he left. They were also alleged to be laughing and smiling as they left the family’s home.
While they were leaving, plainclothes Revere Police officers responded to the scene as a result of the recorded phone call that had been stopped.
The situation was explained and a superior officer from the Revere Police Station did end up apologizing for the entire incident.
The complaint indicates that police had identified the teen as a person of interest, but that he allegedly wasn’t supposed to be apprehended.
Two days later, after hearing fully about the Talbot murder, the family alleged that they called the Revere Police and offered to come in with their son to help the investigation.
None of those calls, they allege, were ever returned.
Attorney Day alleged that the son had no connection whatsoever to the shooting and that there was never any probable cause to believe any such connection existed.
There were no warrants for anyone in the house and the family indicated that they never gave consent for officers to enter or search the home.
Attorney Day did not immediately respond to a phone call.
Capizzi indicated that the matter appeared to be a miscommunication between officers about the urgency in which Police wanted to speak with the teen-age son.