Two new Harassment and Intimidation complaints filed against LT Briggs and the Ashland Police Department
First complaint filed against LT Briggs for Court Room Intimidation. Second complaint filed against APD for a questionable traffic stop of his daughters.
Complaint Documents PDF
Oct 4, 2015
Attorney Joseph Hennessey has filed two separate complaints against Lieutenant Briggs and the Ashland Police Department. The first complaint is in regard to Lt Briggs’ unlawful use of a cell phone in court, to allegedly take pictures of Attorney Hennessey and his client. The second, is in regard to a questionable traffic stop, in which Hennessey’s daughters were subjected to heavy questioning and what amounts to a roadside vehicle inspection. The official reason for the stop was a defective tail light. However according to Hennessey and a local service station, there was nothing wrong with the lights.
In the complaint regarding court room intimidation, Lt Briggs is alleged to have closely followed Hennessey, his client, and his client’s mother into the court room. Once inside, Lt Briggs appeared to be taking pictures of Hennessey, his client, and his client’s mother, with a personal cell phone. He was also reported to be texting and laughing while he was taking the pictures. Hennessey contends that Briggs’ actions and demeanor were an intentional act of intimidation.
Besides this alleged criminal conduct of intimidation of a witness, the use of a cell phone in court is also against court house rules, which do apply to law enforcement and court room staff. It is also against department policy, a directive put in place by Police Chief Scott Rohmer. Attorney Hennessey demanded Police Chief Davis conduct an internal investigation. Chief Davis responded that he had investigated Hennessey’s complaint of intimidation against Briggs, but found no evidence to support the charge. Chief Davis failed to contact or question any of the witnesses, except Lt Briggs. He also appears to have not made any attempt to check Briggs’ cell phone, or obtain any records from the phone company. Davis however claims he conducted an investigation into the complaint.
Regarding the complaint of harassment of Hennessey’s daughters, Davis does a fair job of explaining the incident. The issue regarding the alleged defective tail light however is in conflict. It is possible a tail light could have a loose wire, then appear to be working properly later. Hennessey and his daughters however strongly deny there was any problem with the light before, after or during the stop. The Ashland Police Department has removed dash board cameras from police cruisers, at the demand of the police union, so there is no way to know if the officers are telling the truth regarding the tail light. Hennessey described his daughters’ accounts of the incident. He said that the officer initially stated he had stopped her for going too slow. At the end of the stop however, the officer and other officers who arrived on the scene, told her she had been stopped for a defective tail light. During the stop, the officers asked her if she had been drinking. She explained that she had been home all night, not drinking. She had only gone out to pick up her younger sister from an after-prom party. Despite this answer, the officers asked her several more times if she had been drinking. She was issued a written warning citation, which is an official RMV citation, for a defective tail light. A few RMV citations within a fairly short time period can result in a driver’s license being suspended. The following day, Joe Hennessey found the car’s tail light to be working. He then brought the car to a local service station and had it inspected. The service station verified all lights were working properly.
Formal letters have been sent by Attorney Hennessey to the Middlesex county DA’s office, and the Boston office of the FBI. Hennessey has not received a response as of the time of this article. Ashland News made no attempt to contact Ashland Police personnel, due to their history of unresponsiveness. A letter written by Chief Craig Davis responding to the complaints is contained in the PDF link. – Complaint Documents PDF