BPD Officer Suspended For Stalking; Fair Punishment?

A Boston Police Officer has been suspended without pay for four months after following a woman in his cruiser out of his jurisdiction and for no legal reason.  Sgt. Joel McCarthy received the four month suspension, after which he will remain on probation.

The Blackstonian would like to draw a parallel between this case and the many cases of officer misconduct, police brutality and the killing of civilians. In these cases officers are rarely if ever suspended.  In this case which has been labeled “Stalking” the female victim was never touched or physically harmed. In the cases of police brutality and death of civilians, injuries range from bruises and black eyes, to internal organ damage and the most severe result, death.  Both instances are abuses of power but how do we define the terms to effect a fair scale for punishment?

There have been quick and swift results, including suspension and termination for what I would consider “lesser” offenses. A racially offensive email calling Black people “banana eating jungle monkeys” is certainly less harmful than being shot in the back of the head at point blank range. Being followed by an officer to your home is “creepy” to say the least, but somehow it seems that an officer rupturing your orbital socket with a flashlight or damaging your kidney with repeated blows is far more severe.

As the City of Boston goes through this stage of growing pains, for both the COB Administration and BPD new brass, the most important work will be dealing with the past injustices and breaking through the disparities in order to balance the scales and reset to zero.


Details of an internal investigation by the department were released on Wednesday. They found Sgt. Joel McCarthy left his patrol district back in February to follow the victim for miles after pulling her over. Investigators also found McCarthy looked up her address and went to her home.

McCarthy was found to be in violation for conduct unbecoming, traffic enforcement, and neglect of duty.


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