EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Latest News

February 3, 2013

Probe: Bonilla abused power


John Romero, the chief of Lawrence’s regular police force, ordered the internal affairs investigation into the three promotions after several auxiliary officers objected that Tejera, Santiago and Montas were elevated to the higher ranks over officers with longer service, violating a long-standing policy of the auxiliary.

Their complaint was directed against Jackson, but Sgt. Emil DeFusco, commander of the internal affairs division, concluded in the report he submitted Dec. 20 that the complaint against Jackson was unfounded because he was “following orders from Deputy Chief Bonilla.”

“Aux. Chief Jackson has in the past reviewed each candidate’s quantity and quality of hours as well as encouraged feedback from the officer’s supervisors prior to promotions,” DeFusco said in his report. “It appears that no specific criteria was used when promoting (Tejera, Santiago and Montas).”

“Under my procedures for the last 26 years (as chief of Lawrence’s auxiliary police), I would have promoted other individuals,” Jackson said in an interview last week. “The past year, working under Bonilla, has been a pretty bumpy road.”

Romero signed a document concurring with its findings on Dec. 27. He would not elaborate last week, except to say DeFusco did not interview Bonilla, Lantigua or the three promoted officers.

“I signed off on the result of the investigation,” Romero said. “I’ll leave it at that.”

DeFusco’s report does not suggest Lantigua ordered the promotions. But the police department and its 23-member auxiliary have been a focus of the mayor’s attention since he took office in January 2010. One of his first official acts was to promote Bonilla from sergeant to deputy chief of the regular police force, in what was also the first leapfrog to a higher rank by a Lantigua loyalist in the department.

For nearly three years, Bonilla was Lantigua’s go-to man inside the department, where the mayor and Chief Romero have had an uneven relationship that has included several public feuds.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News

AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Photos of the Week