Hampden County District Attorney sues DOJ, demands documents in Springfield police investigation

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court demanding documents the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) used in an investigation of the Springfield Police Department’s Narcotics Bureau.

According to Hampden District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Jim Leydon, the DOJ released a report on July 8, 2020, that found officers in the Narcotics Bureau engaged in a pattern and practice of excessive force that violated the Fourth Amendment rights of suspects. The report also asserts that officers submitted reports that were inaccurate and contrary to other video, photographic, and other available evidence. The report, however, does not reveal the names of officers or any identifying information about the cases in which these abuses purportedly occurred.

The DOJ said investigators conducted an in-depth review of the police department’s documents, including over 100,000 pages of written policies and procedures, training materials, and internal reports, data, video footage, and investigative files.  

The DA’s office is required to provide any potentially exculpatory material to defendants in cases in which these officers may be involved. Gulluni sought copies of the evidence used in the report but the DOJ and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts denied his requests.

According to Leydon, Gulluni also requested information from the City of Springfield, but the City said it was unable to pinpoint officers or cases implicated by the DOJ report because of the years that the DOJ spent on the investigation and the hundreds of thousands of documents the DOJ accessed.

In lieu of these specifics cited in the DOJ report, the City of Springfield has granted the Hampden District Attorney’s Office access to these more than 114,000 pages of documents originally supplied to the DOJ.

Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni issued the following statement

“Assertions made in the DOJ report remain a concern, as they call on our ethical duties as prosecutors to provide any information to defendants that could point to their innocence or aid them in their defense. Despite our best efforts to obtain this critically important information from the United States Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice, we have been turned away after multiple attempts spanning almost a year. The goal is to get the specifics of these serious allegations so that we can ensure the rights of accused persons are protected and fairness results from our work. If there are bad cops who are dishonest and not following the law, we want to know about it and make sure they do not stand as witnesses in our cases or affect the fairness of our criminal justice system.

Efforts to cooperatively obtain this important information were denied. We will now march into federal court to find out who and what is involved in the DOJ report in order to do the right thing.”

-Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni

In anticipation of submitting this lawsuit, Hampden District Attorney Gulluni was sworn into the federal bar on December 17, 2020.

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