Ex-Woburn cop loses police certification over alleged involvement in 2017 white supremacist rally
A former Woburn cop has been decertified by the state's police oversight committee over his alleged involvement in the deadly 2017 "Unite the Right" white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, according to the state.
The latest action taken by the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission prohibits John Donnelly, an ex-patrolman for Woburn police, from working in law enforcement in Massachusetts. Donnelly's name also will be added to a national database of decertified officers.
POST documents show that on April 13 Donnelly agreed to a "voluntary decertification" process. According to the agreement, Donnelly would submit to any decision to decertify him as an officer based on a POST investigation, but would not admit to any of the allegations.
Donnelly's voluntary decertification was upheld with an official order on April 21, after POST closed its investigation into Donnelly's participation in the 2017 rally, which was first reported by the Huffington Post.
The Huffington Post investigation published in October 2022 found that Donnelly helped organized the "Unite the Right" rally and worked as a security detail for high-profile neo-Nazi leader Richard Spencer. The report also confirmed information collected by the anti-fascist group, Ignite the Right, showing Donnelly advocated for violence against leftists and minority groups in messages he posted under the alias "Johnny O'Malley" on the social platform, Discord.
The rally had led to more than a dozen injuries and the death of one women when white supremacists and neo-Nazis attacked counterprotesters in Charlottesville.
Donnelly resigned from the Woburn police days after the HuffPost story published and as the department launched its own investigation into his actions at the rally.