Five Springfield police officers charged in connection with 2015 parking lot fight

Crime

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Five Springfield police officers have been charged in connection with an alleged off-duty beating that took place in a parking lot in 2015.

Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office spokesperson Emalie Gainey told 22News officers Daniel Billingsley, Anthony Cicero, Christian Cicero, Igor Basovskiy, and Jameson Williams were each arraigned on a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon Wednesday morning.

 All pleaded not guilty and were released on personal recognizance with the condition that they stay away from the victims and turn over any person weapons to state police. 

Springfield Police Spokesperson Ryan Walsh told 22News, the officers will be suspended without pay for five days and then placed on paid administrative leave, as per state law and contractual agreements. 

City Councilor Orlando Ramos told 22News, “If it turns out these officers are guilty of what they are accused of then I hope they are punished to the fullest extent of the law. They violated public trust and the trust of the city of Springfield, then they deserve to be punished.”

The off-duty incident happened nearly four years ago, in April 2015.  An altercation inside Nathan Bill’s Bar, led to a fight in an adjoining parking lot later that night.  Four men, Herman Cumby, Jozelle Ligon, Jackie Ligon and Michael Cintron say they were attacked by 8-12 people. Some of which were believed to be off-duty police officers.

The only camera in the area that showed anything was from the Bank of America next to Nathan Bill’s bar. It showed some off-duty officer were there, but the alleged attack took place in another parking lot. The 22News I-Team also discovered that the police department’s internal investigation showed that several officers were caught searching for the victims’ names in the police database the day after the incident.

Gainey said Springfield Police officer Jose Diaz was previously charged in connection with the assault and was arraigned on November 29, 2018, on the same charges. Diaz also pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance with the condition he stays away from the victims. 

Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni refused to press charges in 2017 after he said the victims couldn’t identify their attackers.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno released a statement saying this incident is not reflective of the vast majority of men and women who put their lives on the line to protect the city

Springfield Commissioner John Barbieri also issued a statement Wednesday morning saying if the allegations were true, the conduct was unacceptable and appropriate disciplinary action would be taken.

The five officers are due back in Springfield District Court for a hearing March 15.

Read Sarno’s full statement below:

“As soon as this was brought to my attention, I immediately ordered an outside independent Judge (retired Justice Bertha Josephson) and an outside independent Attorney (Atty. Tom Kokonowski) be brought in to work with Commissioner John Barbieri and our Community Police Hearing Board to review and pursue this situation. Upon the request of state agencies, led by the Office of Attorney General Maura Healey, we were told to stand down until their investigations came to conclusion. We abided by this request. Again, this is not reflective of the vast majority of our brave and dedicated ‘men and women in blue’ who put their lives on the line day in and day out to protect our citizens and business community. With that said, whether on duty or off, one must always wear their badge with honor, integrity and professionalism – ‘let the chips fall where they may.’”

Springfield Commissioner John Barbieri’s full statement: 

This is in relation to an April 2015 incident.  If these allegations are true, this type of conduct by a Springfield Police Officer on or off-duty is unacceptable and appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination will be taken.   The Springfield Police Department continues to stand by pending the completion of the criminal investigations to resume our internal investigation process

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