Civil Service Commission upholds 1 day suspension of Department of Corrections Sergeant for filing a false report and lying during the investigation

The Division of Administrative Law Appeals (DALA) recently upheld the one day suspension of a State Corrections Sergeant for filing a false report and then perpetuating the lie during the investigation.

Corrections Officer II, Sgt. Donavan Bloomfield, is a 26 year veteran of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. Bloomfield alleged that another Sergeant had made derogatory racial remarks toward him while working at the Souza-Baronowski Correctional Center. A subsequent investigation of the incident by DOC investigators cleared the Sergeant due to lack of evidence.

Shortly thereafter, Bloomfield filed a report alleging that the same Sergeant, Sergeant Montenero, “yelled profanities at him” and purposefully “bumped” him while in the control room of the prison at the end of the shift. Bloomfield reported that several other corrections officers were witnesses to the incident.

As part of the investigation, DOC investigators reviewed videotape of the control room at the time of the alleged incident. The video did not show any abnormal interaction between Sergeant Montenero and Sergeant Bloomfield. The video did not have an audio component. Interviews with officers that Bloomfield indicated witnessed the altercation backed up the Sergeants account that no incident had occurred. The officers stated that they did not observe any “altercation, yelling, or any abnormal interaction” between Bloomfield and Sergeant Montenero. Two Superintendent Investigators observed on the video were also interviewed, both denied observing any altercation and stated that they would have felt impelled to report an incident had they witnessed one.

In an interview of Bloomfield by an investigator, he reiterated his accusations against Sgt. Montenero. That investigator filed a report with the DOC stating that he believed Bloomfield was being untruthful and that he continued to “relate deceptive and false information” during the investigation. The DOC subsequently suspended Bloomfield for one day.

Bloomfield filed a timely appeal with Civil Service. An appeal to DALA was heard by a magistrate. Relying heavily on the videotape and finding Appellant Bloomfield not credible, the magistrate ruled in favor of the DOC and ordered Civil Service to “affirm the action of the Appointing Authority.”

Full text of the decision can be found here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/33682511/Bloomfield-Donovan-040810

About Attorney John J. MacLaughlan

John MacLaughlan is Massachusetts licensed attorney as well as a Boston police officer. John is currently assigned to the Youth Violence Strike Force (Gang Unit). He is a graduate of the Massachusetts School of Law with a concentration in Labor Law. He holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell as well as a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. John has taught Defensive Tactics, Firearms, Use of Force, Applied Patrol Procedures, and Police Response to Active Shooters to sworn police officers and police academy recruits. Prior to becoming a Boston Police Officer, John served for 9 years as a police officer in Lowell, where he was a member of the Police Dive Team and Patrol Rifle Team.
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