Judge: Former Springfield detective can’t return to work, criticizes Commissioner

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A former Springfield police detective can’t go back to work while he is suing the city. The 22News I-Team obtained court documents released late Friday afternoon which show that Hampden County Superior Court Judge Michael Callan denied Steven Vigneault‘s request to be reinstated to the police force.

Judge Callan in his decision stated, “The Plaintiff (Vigneault) has not shown that he has a likelihood of success on the merits of the claims for which he seeks relief.”

In January, Vigneault filed a civil whistleblower lawsuit against Police Commissioner John Barbieri, Police Department Union President Joseph Gentile, Attorney Kevin Coyle, the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, Local 364 and Springfield Police Officer Gregg Bigda.  Vigneault claims he resigned under false pretenses.

Vigneault also claims he watched Officer Gregory Bigda and others drink alcohol on the job at the police station, claiming Bigda was often drunk on duty while carrying his gun. Then was reprimanded when he brought those allegations to supervisors.

Related: Love triangle at Springfield Police Department leads to new restraining order

On the February night, where Bigda was caught on camera at the Palmer Holding Cell threatening teenagers, Vigneault claims Bigda was drinking rum throughout the night. The threats caught on camera included Bigda saying he would “plant a kilo of coke” on a juvenile and “put him away for 15 years” and crush their skulls with a “bloody boot.”  Several drug cases have been dismissed due to that video.

A Wilbraham police officer’s report stated that one of the juveniles was kicked in the face during the pursuit. The report did not state which officer attacked the juvenile.  Vigneault denies kicking the juvenile and said he was told by Union President Gentile that the Wilbraham officer could identify Vigneault as the person who kicked the juvenile, which is why Vigneault says he resigned.

An affidavit made public Friday shows that Commissioner Barbieri believe Vigneault kicked the juvenile and that he was only going to force the Wilbraham police officer to testify, not that the Wilbraham officer accused Vigneault of assaulting the juvenile.

In Judge Callan’s decision on Friday, he also criticized Commissioner Barbieri stating, “It is worth noting, however, the fact that Officer Bigda is still on the Springfield police force while this Plaintiff (Vigneault) is not so employed strikes me as starkly inequitable.”