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Boston police suspend sergeant for allegedly bragging about hitting protesters with his vehicle



Clifton McHale, a supervisor in the department’s court unit, must serve an unpaid suspension of at least eight days, the department said Friday over body camera footage that showed him bragging about intentionally striking protesters with his vehicle.

The internal investigation, which relied on video evidence and witness interviews, found McHale’s statements recorded by a body-worn camera were “unbecoming of a police officer,” said Sergeant Detective John Boyle, a police department spokesman. But investigators concluded that McHale did not strike anyone with his vehicle as he had told other officers, Boyle said.

“I got to [expletive] Tremont and Park,” he says in the video. “And I was in the middle of the [expletive] street. So then I had to keep coming. I was [expletive] hitting people with the car.” Protesters “were all [expletive] around,” he says.

He must serve eight days of the 10-day suspension, with the remaining two days set aside for six months, Boyle said. On Friday night, police released a 26-page internal affairs file that said investigators collected videos from the area where McHale was driving, including footage from social media, traffic cameras, and body-worn cameras from officers stationed nearby.

Video evidence and witness interviews showed demonstrators threw projectiles at McHale’s cruiser, but he did not strike them and eventually abandoned the vehicle on Winter Street. The video footage, published by online news outlet The Appeal, came from an officer-worn body camera and was part of a trove of footage obtained by attorney Carlton Williams.

On Friday, Williams said prosecutors can still bring charges against defendants who attempt to commit violence, but don’t succeed. “It’s still a felony to try to hit people with your car whether you do it or not,” he said.

Williams said he is concerned that McHale’s case normalizes the misconduct caught on camera. “It’s distinctly the opposite of what he’s supposed to be doing. That doesn’t seem OK. It doesn’t seem like good management,” he said [].

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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