EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


March 19, 2013

State to rule on cop punishments

City says officers gave special treatment to former trooper

HAVERHILL — Two city police officers suspended without pay for their handling of car accident involving a retired high-ranking state trooper will have their appeals heard tomorrow by the state Civil Service Commission.

Police Chief Alan DeNaro initially suspended Lt. William Leeman and patrolman Christopher Pagliuca for five days each in the case that centered on a March 2012 crash involving Charles Noyes, 62, of Haverhill, former deputy superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. Both Haverhill officers were cited for writing untruthful or incomplete reports, unsatisfactory job performance and violating police ethics.

Mayor James Fiorentini added another five days to Leeman’s suspension following local, closed-door hearings that concluded in October.

Pagliuca and Leeman appealed the mayor’s ruling to Civil Service, triggering tomorrow’s hearing at the commission’s Ashburton Place office in Boston.

Pagliuca’s lawyer, Joseph Padolsky of the Boston firm Louison, Costello, Condon & Pfaff, said in a statement that he and his client are “confident in the Civil Service process and confident that a full hearing before the commission will show that Officer Pagliuca responded appropriately and in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Haverhill Police Department.”

Leeman and his attorney have declined requests for comment.

A Haverhill police investigation concluded that Noyes was given special treatment by West Newbury and Haverhill police officers due to his previous state police position. The probe found that officers declined to arrest Noyes or charge him with drunken driving, even though they had enough evidence to do so, and that reports by officers were so poorly written that prosecutors could not later charge Noyes with drunken driving.

According to a discipline letter from DeNaro to Leeman, it was Leeman who concluded there was not enough evidence for officers to conduct a drunk-driving investigation at the scene. This was despite the fact that West Newbury police Sgt. Daniel Cena, who was first on the scene, told Pagliuca that Noyes was “legless” and that he detected a strong odor of alcohol from Noyes when Noyes exited his vehicle and “tinned” Cena by showing Cena his state police badge. “Legless’’ is police jargon for intoxicated.

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