Internal Investigations Unit looking into new claims of Springfield Police wrongdoing

Former detective claims he was pressured to resign

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno called for Police Commissioner John Barbieri to meet with the city’s top lawyer Friday, following accusations of misconduct in the department’s Narcotics Unit.

Former Springfield Police Detective Steven Vigneault says that he was pressured to resign from the department following an incident at the Palmer police station in which two teenage suspects were allegedly threatened.

The incident began after Vigneault’s undercover cruiser was stolen from outside a pizzeria on Worthington Street back in February. That led to a multi-town chase that ended in Palmer.

Speaking to 22News I-Team reporter Ryan Walsh on Monday, Vigneault denied that he had ever kicked any of the suspects in the face prior to their being taken to the police station.

Once at the station, Detective Gregg Bigda allegedly threatened violence against the suspects, and to plant drugs on them. The federal Department of Justice and state attorney general is reviewing the allegations against Bigda, who has been suspended for 60 days.

Springfield city councilors demanding answers in case of suspended SPD detective

In a news release sent to 22News Friday afternoon, City Soilictor Ed Pikula said that Commissioner Barbieri has already ordered the department’s Internal Investigations unit to look into these latest claims, but said that he is advising the commissioner to refrain from any public comment on any allegations pertaining to the Palmer incident, which is subject to ongoing criminal investigations.

In the same news release, Sarno said that they are cooperating with all investigators. “There are pending and ongoing investigations, in which, we will continue to cooperate fully with all outside independent agencies. I take this matter very seriously and will continue to foster complete transparency and accountability.”

Vigneault told 22News that he has not had any contact with the police department since he resigned.