Superior Court Overturns Civil Service on Boston Police Bypass Case

In Boston Police Department v. Albert Riva and Massachusetts Civil Service Commission Superior Court action # 08-02819– the court reversed and vacated the previous ruling Boston Police Department v. Albert Riva case #G1-07-283 by the Commission. In that case, the Commission had ordered the appellant placed at the top of the next list for original appointment for Boston Police Officer.

In deciding the original case the Commission reviewed the facts in their decision “Mr. Riva, age 46, a long-time resident of the City of Boston, worked as a municipal police officer for the BMPD for over 23 years and appears to have had an unblemished work record. The Appointing Authority seeks to bypass Mr. Riva because he admitted to having sustained an injury at home when he fell down a flight of stairs and then got the City to pay for it and because he is alleged to have milked an injured wrist in 2001. The testimony of the Appellant, supported by the documentary evidence in this case, establishes that Mr. Riva did not defraud the City by receiving medical treatment for an off-duty injury that he claimed occurred on-duty in 1993. Rather, the Appellant was injured on duty on April 21, 1993 and he was treated for that injury. In regard to the 2001 injury, the testimony of the Appellant, supported by the documentary evidence in this case, establishes that the Appellant did not remain on light-duty longer than he could or should have under the light-duty policy. Notwithstanding the above-referenced conclusions, the Appellant did, in 2007, as part of a medical screening process for the Boston Police Department, make the statements attributed to him by a nurse practitioner who interviewed him. The Appellant told the nurse practitioner that he milked his injury in 2001 for about two weeks. In referencing the 1993 incident where he had injured his knee at home before injuring it at work again, the Appellant did tell the same nurse practitioner that he would make the city pay for it, referring to the injury that occurred at home. After a careful review of all the testimony and documentary evidence in this case, I conclude that Mr. Riva, age 46, made the above-referenced statements to the nurse practitioner in an ill advised attempt to make light of any prior injuries that he believed could potentially hurt his chances of becoming a Boston police officer. These statements raised the concern of the nurse practitioner and ultimately caused the Boston Police Department to bypass him.”
However, the judge upon review of the case in Superior court found otherwise stating “The Defendant, Riva admits to two dishonest acts which goes to the heart of the issue of his honesty and integrity…………….. In effect and assuming , as Riva claims, that his statements to the nurse practitioner were false and untrue, the present civil service commission decision and order permits a prospective employee to lie or make false or untrue statements to his prospective employer and then on appeal to the civil service commission to prove that his original false and untrue statements that he made to his prospective employer were in fact themselves lies or untrue statements, and then as a result threrof, the Boston Police department would be ordered not to bypass him, to place him at the top of the list for future hires, be ordered not to consider his original untrue statements, made to the nurse practioner, and as a result he is to be considered a person of sufficient integrity so as to be appointed a Boston Police Officer.”


Dishonesty lies at the heart of this superior court ruling, as was the original case it was appealed from. The question was whether he was joking when he made the original statement or if he was serious. The Commission apparently believed he was, while the Superior court Judge found otherwise.

Attorney Ronald A. Sellon

About Attorney Ronald A. Sellon

Ronald A. Sellon is a licensed Attorney in the state of Massachusetts and U.S. District Court, Massachusetts as well as a Sergeant with a Municipal Police Department and U.S. military Veteran. Additionally, he has taught Criminal Procedure at the Massachusetts State Police Academy in New Braintree and has written a text on Criminal Procedure for police field training officer programs. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, was a 2008 recipient of the Massachusetts Coalition of Police (Mass C.O.P.) Presidents award and holds a Bachelors Degree in Law Enforcement, a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice Administration, and a Juris Doctor Law Degree. Questions related to content material may be directed to
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