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Police officer on leave amid probe into man's treatment during drug arrest

APD logoChief  Flaherty

Independent investigator identified

UPDATED, March 6: An Arlington police officer is on administrative leave in connection with an investigation into how a Somerville man was treated when he was detained during a drug arrest Feb. 10. Neither the officer nor the man has been identified.

Police Chief Juliann Flaherty reported the probe in a Feb. 17 statement on her blog after YourArlington inquired about the case a day earlier in response to a Facebook posting with videos.

An outside investigator is conducting a review of the detainment after the man posted “his feelings about his interaction with Arlington Police on social media,” the chief wrote.

The chief has told YourArlington that the name of the independent investigator is Michael L'Heureux, a private investigor at Bedrock Investigations of Bedford. 

Asked whether a formal complaint has been filed, she wrote: "At this time [Feb. 25], an APD Complaint Form has not been given to me, but that is not necessary to make a formal complaint.  I have been in touch with the author of the social media post and his attorney and will be meeting with them in the near future."

The investigation will include a review of videos posted to social media and the department’s policies and procedures, including the use-of-force policy, the Feb. 17 statement said.

Facebook post, video

The statement does not specify what the social-media post says, but a Facebook post dated Feb. 15 obtained by YourArlington refers to the Feb. 10 Arlington incident and alleges police brutality and false arrest. The chief's statement says the man was not arrested.

Flaherty wrote that she has been in contact with the Somerville man. “As always," she wrote, "I promise transparency with the public. I have relayed to the Somerville resident my commitment to a ongoing and open dialog between him and me directly.”

The detainment occurred during a foot pursuit in an investigation into an alleged drug-packaging and -distribution operation with possible human-trafficking elements outside of a hotel on Mass. Ave., the statement said. It does not name the location, but the town has just one hotel, Hawthorne Suites, at the Cambridge line.

Officers were dispatched to the hotel on Feb. 10 about 6:30 p.m. for a report of a wanted felon in a room who matched the description of a suspect who allegedly previously damaged a room at the hotel and left without paying the bill, the statement said. There was also allegedly the noise of a woman yelling coming from the room, according to the statement.

After officers knocked on the door, at least one suspect fled from the ground window, the statement said.

Suspect pursued

During the pursuit, police arrested the primary suspect of the investigation, a fugitive from justice who allegedly had a large amount of heroin on him, the statement said. Investigators also found two women inside the hotel room and evidence of drug preparation and packaging.

Police also detained a man from Somerville who allegedly had “a quantity of marijuana on him, which was over the legal limit in Massachusetts,” a scale and baggies, the statement said.

Police are not identifying the Somerville man because no charges have been filed against him, the statement said. For the same reason, YourArlington is not identifying the person who may be the author of the Facebook post with videos.

“It is my sincere commitment that every interaction between members of the public and members of the Arlington Police Department be a fair and professional one, where the intentions of officers are made known and the utmost courtesy and respect for safety and dignity is shown at all times,” Flaherty said in the statement.

The Somerville man has been asked via Facebook on Feb. 18 to reach out to YourArlington, to get his side of the story. He has not responded.

Feb. 7, 2021: Center collision results in citation, one injury

This news summary was published Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, and updated March 6, to add the name of outside investigator.

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