Two Springfield Police officers, one former and one current, have been indicted on federal charges of using unreasonable force against two juveniles.
According to U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, 48-year-old Gregg Bigda, of Wilbraham, and 48-year-old Steven Vigneault, of East Longmeadow, used excessive force during an arrest of two Latino teenagers in 2016.
Bigda is also charged with abusive interrogation and falsifying reports.
Springfield Police Commissioner Barbieri released a statement Wednesday morning, announcing that Bigda has been suspended without pay:
This investigation, which began nearly three years ago, has been highly publicized. Today, the Department of Justice indicted Steven Vigneault and Gregg Bigda. Mr. Vigneault previously resigned; Officer Bigda will be suspended without pay due to the indictment. The Springfield Police Department will have no further comment during the criminal proceedings
The six-page indictment alleges that Bigda spat on one of the teens, and said, “Welcome to the white man’s world.” He is also accused of making threats against both teens during an interrogation without parents present.
Springfield City Council President Orlando Ramos is calling for Bigda’s termination from the department.
“I’m not going to mince words here,” Ramos said in a statement to 22News. “Greg Bigda has to be fired immediately! I’m calling on Commissioner Barbieri to fire him right away!”
Vigneault resigned from the department back in 2016. He later filed a civil lawsuit against the police commissioner and others in Hampden Superior Court — saying he was forced to resign under false pretenses.
“Today is the arraignment, the government’s day,” said Dan Kelly, interim attorney for Vigneault. “Everything is in their favor and it only goes uphill from there for the defendant. Having spoken to Attorney Allen and Mr. Vigneault, they’re absolutely clear, this case is going to trial, they did nothing wrong.”
Vigneault also claimed that Bigda was drinking alcohol on the night of the incident.
“Mr. Vigneault is innocent until proven guilty and we look forward to his day in court,” Kelly told 22News. “Just like any other citizen in the community that was brought out of their bed at 6 a.m. and brought to federal court. They’d also be innocent until proven guilty.”
The indictment released Wednesday alleges that Bigda threatened to “crush [juvenile’s] skull and [expletive] get away with it;” “bring the dog back [and] let him [expletive] go after” the juvenile, and “stick a [expletive] kilo of coke in [the juvenile’s] pocket and put him away for [expletive] 15 years,” among other threats.
Bigda is also accused of attempting to obstruct the investigation into the assaults of the juveniles by falsifying his reports to the Springfield Police Department Internal Investigations Unit.
Two @SPD_HQPolice Officers arrested by @FBIBoston after being indicted for unreasonable force against 2 juveniles. One of them, Gregg A. Bigda, is also charged with abusive interrogation & falsifying reports. Both were taken into custody without incident https://t.co/eoL5Fyy9FR— FBI Boston (@FBIBoston) October 31, 2018
“Welcome to the white man’s world”, among claims in Springfield Detective’s lawsuitNamed in the lawsuit were the Springfield Police Commissioner & Police Department Union President
The heat is on the Springfield Police Department
Allegations of a cover up and extremely weak punishment for Springfield Police Officers’ actions
Councilor Hurst: Springfield PD Commissioner should be stripped of his duties
The Springfield City Councilor said the Commissioner should have fired Detective Bigda
State attorney general to review Greg Bigda case video
Bigda received a suspension after videos show him threatening to kill and plant evidence on a teenager
Sarno wants review of information in Detective Gregg Bigda case
Mayor calling on DA, city solicitor, police commissioner for review