PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) – Another arrest warrant went out for former Springfield Police Detective Steven Vigneault on Monday. By Tuesday afternoon, that warrant was recalled.
A warrant was issued for Vigneault on Monday because his G.P.S. unit he must wear was not registering. Vigneault has to wear the device after violating a restraining order his ex-girlfriend filed against him. The probation office discovered that Vigneault was being treated at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Leeds. A probation officer in Palmer District Court on Tuesday said that they had not been able to contact Vigneault, but did confirm his whereabouts through the hospital. The probation officer told the judge, Vigneault was being evaluated at the hospital.
The judge recalled the warrant and ordered that Vigneault return to the probation office immediately upon his release from the hospital to be fitted for a new G.P.S. monitoring device.
Vigneault’s ex-girlfriend, a Springfield police officer, filed the initial restraint order on January 25th.
The complaint states that Gethins and Vigneault broke up in September, but he hasn’t left her alone since. Gethins said Vigneault has gone to her house and refused to leave, followed her to her gym and sent her an excessive number of text messages.
Gethins said she previously filed a report with the East Longmeadow Police Department, who pulled Vigneault over and served him with a trespass order. On January 20th, Vigneault sent her flowers with a long note. She is seeking an abuse prevention order. At no time does she claim that Vigneault ever physically abused her.
Vigneault is also in the middle of a civil whistleblower lawsuit against the police department. Vigneault claims that in March of 2016, Officer Gregg Bigda had threatened both himself and Officer Gethins while carrying a gun. Bigda and Gethins had previously dated, but the relationship was over for more than a year. Around midnight on that March night, the lawsuit claims that Bigda forced his way into Gethins home and assaulted both Vigneault and Gethins.
In the lawsuit, obtained by 22News, Vigneault said he was forced to resign under false pretenses. He also claims he watched Officer 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.
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.
After an internal affairs investigation, in August of 2016, Vigneault claims that Commissioner John Barbieri told Union President Joseph Gentile to tell Vigneault to resign or be fired. Gentile had told Vigneault that the Wilbraham Police Officer who filed the report was going to testify at a hearing that Vigneault kicked the juvenile in the face. Fearing a loss of his pension, Vigneault resigned. The lawsuit claims that at no time was the Wilbraham Police Officer able to identify who kicked the juvenile.