Michael Doherty

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Michael Doherty in court [5]

Michael Colin Doherty is a Police Officer with the​ Boston Police Department ​. In April 2018 he was sentenced to three years of probation ​ after he assaulted an Uber driver in 2015 during a drunken, racially motivated attack. [2]

Early Life

According to Michael Doherty's defense lawyer Rosemary C. Scapicchio, Michael Doherty is an only child who lost both parents to alcoholism ​ when he was young. He is from South Boston ​. [2]

Personal Life

According to his defense lawyer Rosemary Scapicchio, Michael Doherty suffered from alcoholism due to to the strees of being an officer. He entered an inpatient alcohol treatment program at McLean Hospital ​ soon after his arrest and has remained sober since. He also participates in Alcoholics Anonymous ​ and has sought treatment from the Boston police stress management unit, according to Scapicchio. [2]

Education

According to his defense lawyer Rosemary Scapicchio, Michael Doherty put himself through college on scholarship ​. [2]

Career

Michael Doherty is currently suspended without pay from his job as a Police Officer with the​ Boston Police Department ​ and expects to be fired. He first joined the police force in 2002. [3] ​ Prior to becoming a police officer, Doherty worked as a Correctional Officer ​. [2]

Criminal Record

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Michael Doherty in Suffolk Superior Court ​, April 17, 2018. [4]

On Tuesday, April 17, 2018 Suffolk Superior Court ​ Judge Linda Giles sentenced Michael Doherty to three years of probation ​ for the assault, which occurred in his South Boston ​ neighborhood during the predawn hours of Jan. 4, 2015, while Doherty was off-duty. [2]

Michael Doherty was convicted ​ on April 2, 2018 on two counts of assault ​ and battery for striking the driver, as well as assault and battery for purposes of intimidation, in light of his remarks about the driver’s race during the attack. Jurors acquitted ​ Doherty of violating the civil rights ​ of another man who tried to help the driver. [2]

The Uber driver, Luis Blanco, gave a victim impact statement ​ Tuesday to Superior Court Judge Linda Giles before she sentenced Doherty. [2]

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Photo of the victim Luis Blanco in Suffolk Superior Court ​, April 17, 2018. [4]

Blanco, wearing a light pink collared shirt and dark slacks ​, at times struggled to maintain his composure, telling Giles his primary concern was for Doherty to receive “some type of treatment.” [2]

“Mr. Doherty, I believe, definitely needs some help in terms of adjusting certain things in his life,” said Blanco, the father of a young child, adding that he’s wondered “if this person was armed, would he have killed me that night?” [2]

He said he doesn’t “want the worst for Mr. Doherty. I truly don’t. . . . An apology would be great.” [2]

Doherty, clad in a dark pinstripe suit ​ and black sneakers ​, did not address the court, since he plans to appeal ​, his lawyer said. [2]

Giles sentenced him to three years of probation and ordered him to stay away from Blanco, remain alcohol-free, complete anger management ​ and alcohol treatment, and perform 100 hours of community service ​ at the Greater Boston Food Bank. [2]

Giles said she selected the food bank because it serves a racially diverse population. “I’m hoping that that experience will raise Mr. Doherty’s consciousness,” Giles said. [2]

The judge also excoriated Doherty for his conduct during the assault, saying the most “significant aggravating factor” was “the defendant’s use of a reprehensible racial slur and death threat during his alcohol-fueled assault on the defenseless, terrified victim. . . . The defendant’s hate-filled, racial bias of the moment is extremely troubling to this court and has no place in a civilized society, which the defendant took an oath to protect and serve.” [2]

At the same time, Giles noted, Doherty has no prior criminal record ​ and until his arrest had dedicated himself to public service ​, first as a correctional officer and then on the police force, where he “received many commendations and awards.”

Suffolk District Attorney ​ Daniel F. Conley’s office has said Doherty was a customer of Blanco when he assaulted him around 2:45 a.m., after shouting that he had driven to the wrong location. [2]

“What, you think I’m stupid, you [expletive],” Doherty said, using a racial slur against Hispanics ​, according to prosecutors ​.

When Blanco stopped at East Second and M streets, Doherty began hitting him, forcing him out of the car and chasing him around the vehicle, according to authorities. [2]

Blanco waved down traffic for help, and when another man stopped, Doherty jumped in the Uber vehicle and drove off, prosecutors said. Jurors acquitted Doherty at trial of using a motor vehicle without authority. [2]

When he stopped the vehicle on East First Street, he got out and said to the passerby, “What do you want, you [expletive]?” using a racial slur against black people, officials have said. [2]

He then began swinging at both men, knocking the driver to the ground, according to court filings. [2]

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Doherty, no relation to the officer, on Tuesday sought a 2½ year jail term with six months to serve, and the balance suspended during a 5-year period of probation. The prosecutor said the assault “certainly does involve alcohol, it certainly did involve anger, but it also involved race. And race matters in Boston, it matters in 2018, and it matters for this case.” [2]

Andrew Doherty said the attack speaks to “a larger discussion about race and violence in Boston” and that the sentence should demonstrate that a racially motivated assault is “a punishable offense that is intolerable.” [2]

Doherty is currently suspended without pay from the police force, and Scappicchio said he expects to be fired.

After the verdict came down, Police Commissioner William B. Evans ​ said in a statement that the conviction “sends a strong and definitive message that police officers are not above the law and must answer for their actions should they choose to behave in a way that places the public in danger, whether they are on duty or off.” [2]

Evans said he holds “my officers to a very high standard, and I believe any actions that undermine the public’s trust should have appropriate consequences.” [2]

Conley, the district attorney, also criticized Doherty in a statement released after the verdict. [2]

“The defendant’s conduct that night was reprehensible,” Conley said in a statement after the verdict. “His words and actions have no place in civilized society. . . . Racially-motivated violence by anyone, sworn or civilian, will be investigated and prosecuted, and no one should ever be afraid to report it.” [2]

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