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BPD Commissioner: Sergeant 'Wrong' For Telling Man Not To Videotape Cops' Interaction With Teen

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A Boston police sergeant is facing an internal affairs probe on claims that he intimidated a man who was videotaping a police investigation in Roxbury.

Police on Friday will meet with the man who was videotaping to offer an apology.

Police were responding to a report of kids playing with guns on Edgewood Street in Roxbury. They apprehended a 14-year-old carrying what turned out to be a very realistic-looking fake gun.

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The video shows Sgt. Henry Staines, an 18-year veteran of Boston's police force, twice approaching 61-year-old Lawrence Dugan as he videotapes the scene with his phone.

Police Commissioner William Evans on Thursday apologized for the officer's actions and said what he did was against police training.

"Everyone is allowed to videotape. It's their constitutional right to do it," Evans said. "We've stressed that continually. Sergeant Staines made a mistake saying the guy couldn't. He was clearly wrong here, and we'll make this a good teaching moment, a training moment and make sure it doesn't happen again."

Evans said there is no excuse for what Staines did, that police are told during their training that videotaping is allowed. He says as a result of this incident, the department will be "putting our training bulletin back out." Evans said he believes Staines got caught up in the emotions of chasing down what turned out to be a teen with a fake gun. Police say they've seized 214 realistic-looking fake guns over the past year.

The teenager who's shown in the video kneeling on the ground with his hands behind his back was not charged for having the fake gun.

Evans said Staines "regrets his actions, he's embarrassed by this, he knows he messed up, and he's willing to take whatever discipline is going to be imposed. I think he acted truly out of character for himself."

Staines will be meeting with Dugan, as well as William Gross, the department's superintendent in chief, Friday.

Delores Handy Twitter Reporter
Delores Handy was formerly a host and reporter at WBUR.

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