Cases Thrown Out of Court Because Police Held “Contest” For Arrests; Which Chief Denied Happened
Kelly Patterson broke a story in 2015 about the Massachusetts Police Chief who was offering his police officers a weekend off for the most arrest. According to Patterson’s story:
In the spirit of the holidays, Chief David Majenski of the Abington Police Department, in Massachusetts, sent out an email to “motivate” his officers proposing a “friendly competition” to see who could kidnap the most people within the month of October. The winner was to receive a weekend off in November as a bounty.
Somehow encouraging cops within their city to find any excuse they could to pad their arrest numbers didn’t sit well with the citizens of Abington. Although the competition is supposed to be voluntary according to Chief Majenski, it raised obvious questions about the effect it might have on the perceived objectivity of police officers and the fact that it created a de facto quota system.
I also did a write up a few days later when more information came out stating the same Chief had done this in the past. From that post:
Majenski must not have realized this and/or doesn’t comprehend the legal issues this [his contest] brings in a court of law. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t be a breaking realization to us because all police have a motive and bias against people. This one was just clearly written on paper (or via email). We all know that a police officer would lose their job if they didn’t write any tickets at all. Nobody knows the number of tickets police officers have to write to keep their jobs but we know what cops will do if told, or incentivized, to write more. They. Write. More.
And just as Patterson and I both suspected the legal troubles followed. Yet, it took nearly two years to catch up to the Chief – whom I cannot believe still has his job. According to Fox25:
A judge has thrown out two criminal cases for after an attorney says the Abington Police Department and Plymouth County District Attorney failed to provide information about an arrest competition. Something the defense attorney planned to build his case around.
The attorney representing two people arrested in Abington said the chief refused to provide details of the competition, leading the judge to approve his motion to have the charges thrown out.
The Brockton District Court judge threw out a second criminal case brought by Abington police. We are not identifying the suspects in either case because the charges were dropped.
Attorney Patrick Gannon asked Abington police — in two difference cases — to provide more information about an ‘arrest contest’ the chief authorized.
FOX25 first told you about the competition more than a year ago after obtaining emails, in which the chief set the prize as extra time off for the most arrests.
In a 2009 email, Chief David Majenski wrote “I would like to see who can come with the most physical arrests…have at it, have a good time, be creative, assist each other and then relax for three days on us!!”
“In the state of Massachusetts you can’t have contests,” Gannon said.
On behalf of two clients arrested by Abington police, Gannon requested all of the chief’s emails about the contest, but never got them.
“If I’m being paid to make as many arrests as I can for a weekend off…a jury needs to hear, that there may have been an incentive,” Gannon said.
My first thought is how many more arrest should have been dropped but those arrested took plea deals? These can’t be the only two from that timeframe!?
And while this [the dismissals] is good news people need to read between lines here. The lawyer said “if I’m being paid to make as many arrest as I can for a weekend off … a jury needs to hear that.” Well, aside from the weekend off part, what difference is there from doing this as a contest or ticketing as many people just to keep your job? This is what police do, they generate revenue. Contest or not.
It should also be noted that Majenski refused to provide the emails requested and didn’t show up to court (due to a funeral) but if you or I would try that with a judge we’d find ourselves in bright orange.