Agawam Police Chief defends the firing of 3 officers

Chief Gillis said the use of force has to be proportional to the threat

Image Courtesy: John D. Connor | Connor, Morneau & Olin, LLP

AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – Agawam Police Chief Eric Gillis went on the record Friday to defend the decision to fire three Agawam Police Officers.

Chief Gillis told 22News he stands by the decision to fire those officers for the June 2016 interaction involving an allegedly drunk suspect. He said the use of force has to be proportional to the threat.

He said based on the fact that it was a controlled environment, officers knew the suspect did not have a weapon and they had a manpower advantage, that the force was not necessary.

The Chief said they don’t have plans to revise their use of force policies and procedures because there is so much gray area; he said officers need to use good judgment and he also does not think that this incident will make officers hesitate to use force in the proper situation.

“Simply place him in the cell. I don’t really care what he does in the cell. It’s not going to help him calm down if we sit on his chest and hold him by his head and neck and then a third one strike him with a baton. How that is going to calm anybody down is beyond me,” said Chief Gillis.

Sgt. Anthony Grasso, Officer Edward Connor, and Officer John Moccio are all appealing their firing through civil service. Criminal charges will not be filed by the Hampden County District Attorney.

The Chief told 22News the video was not the only reason they were fired. He said it also had to do with statements they made during the investigation.

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