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State & Region Briefs


Wednesday, June 13, 2018
No charges as FBI ends ‘excessive force’ probe

AGAWAM — The FBI is ending its investigation into a group of western Massachusetts police officers for allegedly using excessive force against a prisoner.

Three Agawam police officers will not face charges following the end of the probe by the FBI into their methods of subduing a disorderly man in June 2016.

The officers had been terminated in October 2016 for their roles in the arrest of then 27-year-old David Desjardins at Six Flags New England in 2016. Desjardins was taken into custody and struggled with officers until he was struck with a baton.

An independent firm assisted with the investigation, and Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni declined to prosecute the officers.

Two of the officers are back at work, with one previously demoted officer back in his position as sergeant.

Demolition of church nearafter bid to save it fails

WORCESTER — Officials say a historic church in Worcester will soon be torn down after a bid to preserve it failed to win the support of the city council.

A group hoping to save the Notre Dame des Canadiens church had asked the council to allow the city manager to negotiate a transfer of the church to the city. But councilors said Tuesday that they could not support the use of taxpayer money to buy the building.

City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. told the council that the property owner does not want any more delays in the plan to tear down the church and redevelop the site. The Telegram & Gazette reports that he says demolition is “very imminent.”

The church was built in 1929, but has been vacant since 2007.

Man suspected of taking dog barricades self in home

METHUEN — Police say a man suspected of stealing a dog and other crimes barricaded himself inside a home and was surrounded by a SWAT team.

Police said they went to the Methuen home to arrest him on several warrants, including shoplifting, gun/drug possession, probation violation, and breaking and entering.

He also was suspected of taking Nikko, a 25-pound male Shih Tzu mix, from a car parked outside of a Walgreens in Nashua, N.H., on Sunday.

Steve O’Neil, 38, was later arrested Wednesday in the home. Police said he was found hiding in a piece of furniture.

Police said the dog owner tracked the suspect on Facebook. She was later reunited with Nikko.

O’Neil was expected to be arraigned Wednesday. It wasn’t immediately known if he had a lawyer.

Men involved in altercation at strip club with police released

WORCESTER — Two brothers whose violent arrest by police outside a Massachusetts strip club was caught on video had visible injuries when they appeared in court.

Twenty-three-year-old Mitchell Lugo, of Spencer, and 27-year-old Zachary Lugo, of Rutland, were released on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty Tuesday to charges including assault and battery on a police officer.

Mitchell Lugo’s right arm was in a sling while Zachary Lugo had scrapes and bruises on his face.

Neither commented outside court.

A video circulating on social media shows officers appearing to punch the men Sunday morning outside the Riviera Show Club in Worcester.

Police say the brothers yelled racial slurs, kicked at officers and tried to grab one officer’s gun, and the use of force fell within the “parameters of policy and training standards.”

22 rescued when dragon boat sinks in Connecticut River

SPRINGFIELD — Nearly two dozen people had to be rescued from a dragon boat that struck a rock and took on water during a practice session on a Massachusetts river.

A spokesman for the Springfield Fire Department says 22 people were on board when the vessel started sinking on the Connecticut River just after 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Rescue boats from both the Springfield and Agawam fire departments shuttled the rowers to shore.

No injuries have been reported.

The 40-foot fiberglass boat belongs to the Pioneer Valley Dragon Rays dragon boat racing team, which was practicing for June 23 races on the river.

Club director Ben Quick said they hope to repair the boat in time for the races.

From Associated Press