SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri says that it is his department that had requested an investigation into a 2015 incident in which four men claim they were beaten by a group of off-duty police officers. Barbieri spoke Tuesday to 22News I-Team reporter Tamara Sacharczyk about that incident, and the investigation into suspended Springfield Police Detective Gregg Bigda, who is accused of threatening three teenage suspects.
Barbieri said that there is little he can say about the 2015 beating incident at a shopping plaza on Island Pond Road, because the district attorney has had the investigation for the past 18 months. He told 22News that the department initiated an investigation, as there was no civilian complaint for the initial incident.
“Certainly, if the behavior outlined in the complaint is accurate, then there’s no tolerance for that type of behavior in the police department, and there’s no room for that type of officers here,” Barbieri said.
He said that if no charges are filed in the case, the matter will still be investigated by the police hearings board, which is made up entirely of civilians. Barbieri said that he has never gone against a decision by the hearings board.
22News also asked him about comments from City Councilor Justin Hearst, who said that Barbieri should be stripped of his power to discipline officers. Barbieri says that he can understand Hearst’s concerns, but insists that he is of the highest standards, and is unbiased. He told 22News that he worked in internal investigations in the past, and had testified against other police officers when necessary.
“I wear my badge with integrity and honor,” Barbieri said.
22News also asked the commissioner about how the Bigda case compares with a recent case out of Agawam for which three police officers were fired. Play the video to hear his response to this and other questions.