Boston Police Officer Put On Leave After Arrest For Domestic Violence

A Boston police officer was arrested Tuesday and placed on administrative leave after a domestic violence incident, the second time the officer has been charged in a little over a year.

Alexis Herrera-Brea, who has been a Boston police officer since September 2017, was arrested for "assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and assault and battery," according to a statement by the police department. The department said the incident involved a "non-intimate family member."

“This alleged behavior is completely unacceptable for any member of the Boston Police Department and will be fully investigated," Superintendent in Chief Gregory Long said. "The Boston Police Department will continue to ensure our integrity and credibility by taking all alleged domestic violence matters involving department employees seriously.”

Herrera-Brea was also charged last year with assaulting a family or household member and placed on probation last fall, according to West Roxbury municipal court records.

In the latest incident, the Boston Globe reported that the officer was accused of knocking a relative into the pavement during an argument over the weekend.

Herrera-Brea originally faced two charges in Dorchester municipal court:  a felony charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery. But a judge dismissed both counts after Herrera-Brea's lawyer objected.

In a handwritten ruling, the officer's attorney, Benjamin Megrian, argued the felony charge should be dismissed because the courts have found that pavement is not a dangerous weapon, citing a court precedent.

But on Wednesday, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office asked the judge to reconsider the dismissal, arguing that Megrian misled the court about the prior court case.

Prosecutors said in a statement and court filing that the Supreme Judicial Court case Megrian mentioned actually found that pavement can be a dangerous weapon, the opposite of what Megrian suggested. They said they didn't catch the error earlier because they didn't have adequate time to research the case before Tuesday's hearing.

“This was an unfortunate misstep that was immediately noticed and corrected prior to any outside inquiry," said Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins in a statement.

If necessary, prosecutors said they are also prepared to seek new criminal charges.

“We have every intention of pursuing criminal charges in connection
with this domestic violence allegation," Rollins said.

Megrian also argued that "a misdemeanor should not have been issued without a clerk's hearing."

Under court rules, defendants are normally entitled to a hearing before a clerk magistrate before misdemeanor charges are issued in Massachusetts. But there are a number of exceptions to that rule, including when someone is arrested, as was the case with Herrera-Brea.

Megrian could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.