SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Calling for the release of more details, five Springfield city councilors held a news conference Thursday afternoon, regarding a a police detective who was caught on camera threatening three teenagers.
Councilors Adam Gomez, Justin Hurst, Orlando Ramos, Bud Williams, and Marcus Williams spoke outside Springfield City Hall about the case of Detective Gregg Bigda, who was suspended for 60 days in connection to the incident, which took place in February.
Police say that the teens in question had stolen an undercover police car, leading officers on a multi-town chase, which ended in Palmer. The video has been placed under protective order, and therefore has not been publicly released.
Councilor Justin Hurst said that facts have only been coming out intermittently, but said that he imagines Police Commissioner John Barbieri and Mayor Domenic Sarno’s office had this information from the outset. He expressed disappointment that he had yet to hear from the mayor about the issue.
“There’s no way that if there were strong leadership that this would occur, and I imagine that the commissioner would have stepped up and immediately fired that individual,” Hurst said.
Councilor Bud Williams had stronger words for the commissioner, saying that Bigda should have been fired “on the spot” following the incident, and demanding a release of the evidence.
“Shame on the commissioner. No man is above the law. Not me, not you, no man or woman is above the law!” Williams said.
Council Vice President Ramos said that the events have raised a lot of concerns, and the case highlights the need for police officers to wear body cameras.
Councilor Bud Williams says that the incident calls into question any case in which Bigda has been involved.
“Now that has compromised other cases, each and every case, every lawyer, these lawyers are very smart, every case that this individual has ever been involved can potentially and probably be thrown out,” Williams said.
The 22News I-Team spoke to Attorney Barry Auskern, who said that his client was facing 30 years in prison for selling heroin. He got released this week on time served, less than three years. Auskern says it’s because Detective Gregg Bigda was a witness.
Attorney Auskern told the I-Team, he believes this is just the tip of the iceberg for cases Detective Bigda was involved in.
Here’s what Mayor Domenic Sarno had to say about the 60 day suspension: “I was not happy about this serious lapse of judgment in crime-fighting techniques. The conduct described is unacceptable. The decision was recommended to me based upon past arbitrations that were overturned.”
Last summer, alleged criminals had their cases dismissed because of evidence – confiscated money was stolen from the Springfield police evidence locker.