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Beating Of Mail Carrier Brings City Response


An assault on a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier last month in Springfield, Massachusetts has brought a call for harsh punishment to deter future attacks.

   Springfield City Councilor Bud Williams urged federal authorities to prosecute two city teenagers who are currently facing state criminal charges for beating the mail carrier.

   " This case needs the full thrust of the federal government to prosecute these people," said Williams. " Lets send a message that we stand with our postal workers."

           18-year-old Alexis Arroyo and a 15-year-old were arrested by Springfield police last week and charged with the January 21 attack on the mail carrier. Police said the incident began when a group of young men began rocking a mail truck that was stopped at a traffic light. When the driver got out, police say, he was struck repeatedly by two of the youths.

    The victim, whose name was not released, was treated at a hospital for facial injuries and a possible fractured jaw, according to police.  No mail was stolen.

   Williams said the incident has unnerved other mail carriers.

   " You can't let a postal official be attacked. We have to demonstrate as a city that we will respond to it, make a big issue out of it, so it sends a clear message that we mean business."

   Williams chaired a meeting Tuesday of the council’s State and Federal Relations Committee that was attended by a postal service official, two Springfield Police Department officials, and representatives from the offices of Congressman Richard Neal and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

    Neal’s representative said the congressman has asked U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz to look at the case. 

    Assaulting a mail carrier is a federal offense that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service who told The Republican the two suspects would be prosecuted at the state level.

     Theodore Goonan, senior operations manager for the Connecticut Valley District of the U.S. Postal Service, said he was shocked by the assault on the mail carrier.  He said such attacks are rare.

     " It does not happen often, nationwide, not just in western Massachusetts."

     Goonan praised the cooperation between the local authorities and the postal inspectors.

     " They resolved this case really, really quickly and we are eternally grateful."

     Williams suggested that the Springfield Police Commissioner appoint a permanent liaison to work with postal officials to improve safety and security for the mail carriers.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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