District Attorney Rachael Rollins’ Office to Investigate Excessive Use of Force by Former MBTA Officer
Former Officer Nicholas Morrissey resigned when alleged abuse at Forest Hills busway came to light and video did not match his written report
BOSTON, June 22, 2020 — The Office of Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins has opened a criminal investigation into the actions of former MBTA Officer Nicholas Morrissey in which it is alleged he excessively used force and filed a report on the April 28, 2020 incident that is not supported by video.
“Although it is unusual for my office to comment on ongoing investigations, the behaviors of law enforcement personnel must be held to a higher standard and require transparency,’’ said District Attorney Rollins. “I want to thank and highly commend the leadership of the MBTA Police for bringing this matter to my office. Without their coming forward, we would not have been made aware of Morrissey’s concerning behavior. This type of leadership by law enforcement management must be commended and should be emulated.”
On April 28, 2020, Morrissey allegedly dragged a homeless, intoxicated man from an MBTA bus on the Forest Hills busway and forcibly held the 63-year-old face-down with a knee on his back for 20 seconds, pushed his head into the pavement, and later dragged him out of the bus lane.
The man, who is known to MBTA police, suffered abrasions to his face. Morrissey filed a report on the incident alleging that the man lost his balance while attempting to spit at Morrissey. Morrissey said he grabbed the man by the shoulders and redirected him before the man fell through the bus door and hit his forehead on the pavement. The report is not consistent with video of the interaction.
Morrissey resigned his position before any disciplinary action could take place. His supervisor has been placed on administrative leave.
“I have said many times, the vast majority of police officers are dedicated public servants who work honorably and diligently to keep us all safe. Public employees, however are held to a higher standard, especially those charged with keeping the public and our communities safe,’’ said DA Rollins.
“District Attorneys, by definition, work closely with police. But we also are responsible for maintaining oversight when their use of force is not lawful and potentially criminal. In those cases, the trust and expectations of our communities is diminished. They deserve and expect better.”
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins’ office serves the communities of Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop, Mass. The office handles over 25,000 cases a year. More than 160 attorneys in the office practice in nine district and municipal courts, Suffolk Superior Court, the Massachusetts Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court, and the Boston Juvenile Courts. The office employs some 300 people and offers a wide range of services and programs to serve anyone who comes in contact with the criminal justice system. This office is committed to educating the public about the services we provide, our commitment to crime prevention, and our dedication to keeping the residents of Suffolk County safe.