LAWRENCE — A veteran police sergeant has been suspended for 30 days without pay after he allegedly went to the home of the department's internal affairs investigator, and attempted to intimidate and harass him while on duty, officials said.
Police officials said Sgt. Jose Martinez, 41, was already under investigation in an unrelated matter concerning his work schedule, when he left the station March 26 and drove to the home of Sgt. Emil DeFusco Jr., the internal affairs sergeant handling the unrelated investigation.
When DeFusco came outside of his house, he noticed Martinez sitting in his car. The pair had a brief conversation in which Martinez allegedly told DeFusco he wanted to make sure that DeFusco was alright.
DeFusco felt threatened and became concerned for his personal safety, officials said.
The pair met a few minutes later when they parked their cars at the police station about 50 feet apart, and Martinez stared at DeFusco after getting out of his car, officials said.
DeFusco contacted police Chief John Romero, who ordered Martinez to his office, placed him on paid administrative leave, and stripped him of his gun and badge.
Martinez was also banned from the police station, officials said.
That same day, Martinez was sent a letter from Mayor Michael Sullivan informing him of the city's intent to suspend him from duty.
A closed hearing on the notice to suspend was conducted at City Hall on April 4 with Haverhill lawyer Mark Giarrusso serving as the hearing officer. Giarrusso affirmed the city's decision to suspend Martinez for 30 days without pay, stating Martinez had engaged in serious acts of intimidation and harassment threats in his contacts with DeFusco.
"His presence outside of the home of Sgt. DeFusco was for no legitimate purpose. His actions caused an atmosphere of harassment and intimidation toward Sgt. DeFusco and his family," Chief Romero said in a statement. "He has attempted to violate the sanctity and security of a fellow officer's home. He has caused a fellow officer to be concerned about his safety and the safety of his family. Such actions by a member of the Lawrence Police Department are clearly unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
Martinez's lawyer Alan McDonald presented evidence in the hearing, stating the officer was conducting his own investigation when he drove by DeFusco's home and encountered DeFusco by accident. He also suggested Martinez was having a cigarette outside the police station when DeFusco drove up and was not aware he was even there.
Martinez has a non-published telephone number at his Lowell home and was unable to be contacted for this story.