Want To Fight the Power?  Check Out What These Massachusetts State Troopers Just Did

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2017/11/13/want-to-fight-the-power-check-out-what-these-massachusetts-state-troopers-just-did/

Why did the superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police order an official reprimand of the state trooper who included in a police report salacious details about the arrest of a judge’s daughter?

It might be the strangest detail of this sordid story.

The other details fit. The head of the State Police orders a police report scrubbed of salacious (and incriminating) statements made by the daughter of a judge who happens to be a longtime friend of his. Others who have various family and/or professional ties to the judge allegedly go along with covering up a vital portion of the truth.

So far, so Massachusetts.

As most of us who have spent a long time in our beloved Commonwealth know, things aren’t exactly on the level around here. This story, though sad on multiple levels, is hardly shocking.

But here’s the tragic flaw, if you’re a cover-up supporter:  Why order discipline for the state trooper who wrote the report? Isn’t that just asking for trouble?

Trouble is what Richard D. McKeon, the now-former superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, got. McKeon retired abruptly Friday.

Trouble may also be coming for various other state officials who may have been in on the cover-up, as two lawsuits now allege.

The governor’s office and the attorney general’s office are now, we’re told, investigating. We’ll know if that’s true by the fruits of the investigation, which surely can’t end with one measly forced retirement. And any investigation should answer the question about the “negative observation report” that McKeon ordered for Trooper Ryan Sceviour, the arresting officer.

In the meanwhile, it’s worth noting what Sceviour says he told his commanding officers when they told him to scrub his report of various details, such as when the judge’s daughter told him she’d perform a sex act on him if he went easy on her and when she told another trooper that she got the heroin in her car by performing sex acts on others.

To edit that important information out of the report, Sceviour said, would be “morally vacant.”

“If this was some random person and not a judge’s kid, none of this would be happening,” he told them.

Rather than go along and take his punishment, Sceviour sued. A second state trooper, Ali Rei, who questioned the judge’s daughter, has also sued.

The problem with the truth in Massachusetts is that it can get you hurt. Sceviour’s job is not in immediate jeopardy – his union will protect him, and it’s not like state officials can get rid of a whistleblower during an investigation.

But at 29 and with a year and half on the job, what are Sceviour’s future prospects? Would you bet on his getting a promotion down the road?

Or will his life be as hard as William Johnson’s, who was once named state trooper of the year? In 1987 Johnson stopped Whitey Bulger at Logan when he was apparently trying to move large amounts of cash. Whitey was famously, ahem, connected.

In the wake of his run-in with Whitey, Johnson got a lesser assignment and felt his honor was besmirched. In 1998 he killed himself, leaving in his farewell note the following statement:  “I do not want a Massachusetts state trooper in uniform within 100 miles of my funeral – I mean it.”

That isn’t the right course, obviously.

But if things are ever to get better around here, it will take people sticking their necks out for what’s right – whether that be to stand up for the truth, or to fight an unjust reprimand, or both. Too many people for too long have assumed that when they see something wrong, there’s nothing they can do about it. But there is something:  resist.

These lawsuits are a step in the right direction. So are the state investigations, if they are real.

Damn the consequences, Troopers Sceviour and Rei, full speed ahead.