Dozens sign online petition to prevent renewal of Agawam Police Chief’s contract

AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – Controversy continues among Agawam residents, after three veteran police officers were fired last week.

Now, a petition to prevent the police chief’s contract from being renewed is circulating on the Internet, but not everyone is willing to sign their name.

Rob Santaniello of Agawam told 22News one incident shouldn’t be enough for Agawam Police Chief Eric Gillis to lose his job. “I don’t think it’s fair to judge somebody based on one isolated incident when they have years of service,” he said.

Mary Campbell of Agawam, agrees. “I think we need to look at it a little bit more closely, I mean people tend to jump the gun. We really need to be on the side of the policemen, I think,” she said.

The petition was created less than a week after Mayor Richard Cohen fired three police officers following the recommendation of the police chief, and a use of force investigation.

The three police officers who were fired are accused of assaulting a Connecticut man in a jail cell at the Agawam Police Department, in June.

Attorney John Connor, who represents those 3 officers, has denied those allegations. He told 22News there’s a videotape to prove it. “This is not a case where the individual was in cuffs, or restrained, and the officers were beating on him, it’s just not the case. The video reflects all of this,” he said.

The District Attorney’s Office won’t release the video due to a pending criminal case. The petition will be handed over to Mayor Cohen’s office once they’ve gained 100 signatures.