HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Holyoke Police Chief James Neiswanger says it a “travesty of justice” that a judge released a suspect who allegedly struck a police officer with his car outside the Holyoke Mall late last week.
During a news conference Wednesday, Neiswanger said that the officer, Eric Martin, was hit by a door of the car, and suffered torn tendons in his left wrist and a sprained right ankle in the incident.
The chief said that on Friday evening Moran had come into contact with the suspect, 25 year-old Charles Moran of Westfield, who was in a verbal dispute with his girlfriend inside the mall. The chief said that Moran was armed with a bat.
The dispute spilled out into the parking lot, and the girlfriend, who allegedly told the officer that she was fearful of her boyfriend. She had secured her toddler child in a car seat, and it was then that the chief says Moran pulled his girlfriend into the car and backed out, striking Officer Martin with the car door.
Moran was eventually pulled over by police on Route 5 in West Springfield and taken into custody.
The suspect is charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, witness intimidation, resisting arrest, domestic assault and battery, and various other motor vehicle charges and citations.
During his arraignment, Neiswanger said that Judge William Rota released Moran on personal recognizance, even though the DA had asked for bond. The chief was furious over the judge’s decision, saying that he failed the citizens of Holyoke and the city’s police department.
“Would it have made a difference if he had killed my officer?” Neiswanger said. “It seems obvious to me that Judge Rota does not value the work of my officers, or their lives.”
Rota normally serves at the Southern Berkshire District Court in Great Barrington, however judges do often rotate through the different courthouses in the area.
Officer Martin was released from the hospital, and is now recovering at home.