Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Suffolk County D.A. Lets Cop Shooter Walk

Remember the Boston cop who shot a fellow police officer last summer, and fled the scene of the crime without rendering first aid to the fallen officer?

Well, this will come a real shock to you.


He got ten years 90 days probation.


April 23, 2007

A Boston Police Officer was sentenced to probation today after admitting to discharging his department-issued firearm and injuring a fellow officer last summer while both men were off-duty.

Officer PAUL DURKIN, 50, had been scheduled for trial later this week on a single count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in connection with the June 22 incident, which injured Officer Joseph Behnke. Suffolk Superior Court Judge Janet L. Sanders sentenced Durkin to three years of probation and ordered that he undergo evaluation for alcohol abuse.

Had the case proceeded to trial, witnesses would have testified that Behnke and Durkin were outside Behnke's West Roxbury home sometime after 3:00 a.m. when they became engaged in a dispute over whether Durkin was sober enough to drive himself home. During the course of this dispute, the evidence would have shown, Durkin drew his service weapon, a .40-caliber Glock semiautomatic, and fired once. That shot struck Behnke in the left hip, injuring him.

Following the incident, Durkin walked away from the scene and called a friend on his cell phone. That friend, who knew nothing of the shooting, picked Durkin up and let him sleep at his home. Behnke, meanwhile, walked into his home and received assistance from his wife. He was subsequently transported by ambulance to an area hospital, from which he was released later that morning.

The incident was investigated by Boston Police detectives assigned to the Firearm Discharge Investigation Team, which examines all police-involved shootings. Suffolk prosecutors led a grand jury investigation into the night's events, leading to Durkin's indictment on Sept. 28.

Durkin was represented by attorney George Murphy.

When I read this press release last night (thanks to Adam at Universal Hub for the link), I found several important questions to be unanswered.

1. To what specific charge did Mr. Durkin plead guilty?
2. Was it a misdemeanor or a felony charge?
3. What is the maximum allowable prison sentence, per existing Massachusetts General Law, for the charge to which he admitted guilt?

So far, what we know is there will be no prison time and no trial on felony charges of assault on or attempted murder of a police officer. Just the same I'm sure, as if it was a suspected drug-dealer in Mattapan who had pulled the trigger.

You know, the same kind of drug dealer who was recently prosecuted by Conley's office and sent away for 7-1/2 years for selling crack cocaine to an undercover police officer in Boston.

Disgusted yet?

You should be.

But wait, it gets worse.

From today's Boston Herald:

Hub cop may resign after guilty plea in shooting

"MAY" resign???? Excuse me????

A veteran Boston police officer is expected to resign from the force after pleading guilty yesterday to charges he shot a fellow cop during an off-duty argument about whether he was too drunk to drive, officials said.

Officer Paul Durkin, 50, entered the guilty plea yesterday, just days before his trial on assault and battery charges was expected to start. He also indicated in court that he would turn in his badge after 27 years of service to the Boston Police Department, entitling him to a city pension.

Shoot a cop and leave him bleeding there? Here's your pension.

Commit perjury? Not so much. Just ask Tom Finneran about that one.

Here's the "best" part...

The sentence was applauded by BPD Commissioner Edward Davis last night. “Violence is unacceptable in our society and anyone who engages in violent behavior must be held accountable,” he said in a statement.

I'm nearly speechless.

Since it appears he'll get to keep his pension, I'm guessing Conley and his attorney let him weasel out of the felony charge and plead guilty to some bullshit misdemeanor instead - disturbing the peace, drunk and disorderly conduct, etc. - possibly enabling him to keep his license to carry a firearm.

If this is true, Conley needs to be removed from office.

Before lunchtime today.

And, if Ed Davis is going to hold this up as a shining example of a person being "held accountable" for his actions, he's equally unfit to serve, as well. If some gangbanger were to approach Commissioner Davis one day, shoot him at close range, and then run away, I wonder how his definition of "being held accountable" might change under those circumstances.

And, I wonder why I took so long to move out of that corrupt shithole.

UPDATE: Note also this detail from Conley's press release...

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Janet L. Sanders sentenced Durkin to three years of probation and ordered that he undergo evaluation for alcohol abuse.

"Evaluation", not "treatment".

There's a huge difference between the two, where one's eligibility to possess firearms in Massachusetts is concerned.

Note also, from that link, the other disqualifiers that would prevent him from being licensed to own a handgun in Massachusetts. The $64,000 question is, "Which of those did Conley let him skate on, and what will become of Mr. Durkin's status as a licensed gun owner?"

You'll note that a simple drunk driving conviction alone would be sufficient grounds to strip you or me of our constitutional rights in the People's Progressive Republic.

This whole story stinks.

My money's on this sad excuse for a cop being allowed to keep his gun license. If that turns out to be the case, it would serve as the greatest single example to-date of how unfair and ineffective Massachusetts' gun control laws truly are.

Of course, Boston Mayor Tom Menino has been notably absent from all the coverage of this incident. He'll likely be trotting out the old reliable "I have no comment. That's a police matter." bullshit. It wouldn't surprise me one bit to find out he keeps a framed photograph of Sergeant Schultz on his desk for inspirational purposes.

UPDATE II: Color me surprised.


From the Boston Globe:

Policeman admits to shooting officer
He gets 3 years' probation and agrees to resign

By Suzanne Smalley, Globe Staff - April 24, 2007

A 27-year veteran of the Boston Police Department pleaded guilty yesterday to assault charges for shooting a fellow officer with his service weapon after a night of heavy drinking.

Officer Paul Durkin has also agreed to resign from the department, which bars convicted felons from its ranks, spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said.

Durkin, who pleaded guilty to one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, was sentenced to three years of probation and a mandatory evaluation for alcohol abuse.

So, if what the previous Boston Herald article stated is true, this cop-shooter, now a convicted felon, will still be eligible to collect a monthly pension check courtesy of the City of Boston.

Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

Durkin, 50, was set to face trial this week in connection with the shooting, which prosecutors say unfolded June 22 after Officer Joseph Behnke offered his friend a place to sleep because he believed Durkin was too drunk to drive home.

Prosecutors allege that Durkin became annoyed when Behnke pressured him to stay at his West Roxbury home instead of driving to Easton.

They say that as the two argued, Durkin unholstered his service weapon and fired once at close range, striking Behnke in the left hip.

Memo to Michell McPhee of the Boston Herald: Please stop referring to a police officer's department-issued Glock as a "service revolver". It doesn't exactly do much to help with your overall credibility as a crime reporter.

Durkin then walked away, leaving his friend bleeding, and arranged to stay at the home of another friend, who knew nothing about the shooting, prosecutors say. Behnke's wife called an ambulance, which took him to Brigham and Women's Hospital, where he was treated and released.

Behnke remains on paid administrative leave, Driscoll said.

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley declined to be interviewed about the case, but has said it was "pure luck" that no one was killed.

So, on the plus side, he wasn't able to finagle any kind of backroom deal that would have let him keep his gun license and return to work one day as a police officer. On the downside, as far as the subjects of Meninostan are concerned, he might still be able to cash in on his city pension, despite this conviction on his record.

And, oh yeah...your property taxes are going up...again.

I'd be interested in hearing Menino's take on that.

Not that I'd understand much of, but I'd like to hear it, nonetheless.