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A Massachusetts grand jury has indicted 14 Springfield police officers in connection with an off-duty assault outside a city bar.
A half-dozen officers are charged with assaulting four victims outside of Nathan Bill's Bar and Restaurant in 2015 after confrontation inside. They are:
- Daniel Billingsley, age 30, of Springfield
- Anthony Cicero, age 29, of Hampden
- Christian Cicero, age 28, of Longmeadow
- Igor Basovskiy, age 34, of Springfield
- Jameson Williams, age 33, of East Longmeadow
- Jose Diaz, age 54, of Springfield
They are all charged with 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; as well as one count each of conspiracy.
Also facing the same counts is the owner of Nathan Bill's, John Sullivan of Springfield. Sullivan is also accused of "misleading a federal agent/investigator."
Diaz and eight others are accused of trying to cover up the incident by committing perjury, filing false police reports and misleading investigators.
Those officers include: Darren Nguyen, Shavonne Lewis, Derick Gentry-Mitchell, James D'Amour, John Wajdula and two former officers, Nathaniel Perez and Louis Bortolussi. Officer Melissa Rodriguez is charged with only perjury.
Also charged is the bar's manager, Joseph Sullivan, who is accused of perjury and "misleading a police officer/federal agent/investigator/Grand Jury."
Acting Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood says the 12 active officers will be suspended without pay, and the department will be moving forward with disciplinary action and notification to the state retirement board.
"The indictments will begin to bring some closure to a four year old incident that has damaged the reputation of the Springfield Police Department," Clapprood said in a statement.
Mayor Domenic Sarno said he was "very disappointed and angry" about the indictments.
"Acting Commissioner Clapprood and I will continue our efforts to root out these negative actions by a few, in order to not take away from all the good work the vast majority of our officers do day in and day out for our Springfield community," Sarno said in a statement.
Six of the officers had previously been charged in Springfield District Court in the case. Those charges are expected to be dropped and the case will proceed in Superior Court. Arraignment for all involved will take place at later dates. The investigation was conducted jointly by the FBI in Boston and the Massachusetts attorney general's office.
The announcement of the sweeping indictments is the latest controversy to hit the Springfield police.
Former Police Commissioner John Barbieri left the department last month amid police brutality and misconduct accusations against officers.
And two other officers were charged last year in federal court with the use of excessive force in arresting two Latino teenagers in 2016.
This story was first published by New England Public Radio.
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