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Jury in Springfield Police officers' brawl case returns split verdicts

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Two Springfield, Massachusetts police officers have been found guilty of assault for instigating an off-duty fight after an argument in a bar in 2015.

Two other officers charged in the case were acquitted Thursday by a Hampden Superior Court jury that returned the split verdicts after four days of deliberation. The judge scheduled April 8th for sentencing for officers Daniel Billingsley and Christian Cicero.

In 2018, the city paid $885,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by the four Black men who said they were assaulted by the off-duty white officers.

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office is prosecuting additional current and former Springfield police officers on charges related to their alleged attempts to cover-up the off-duty cops' involvement in the brawl.

Interview with reporter Stephanie Barry
WAMC's Jim Levulis spoke with reporter Stephanie Barry, who covered the trial for The Republican and MassLive.

The Nathan Bill’s case, as it came to be known for the popular bar where the altercation started, became a rallying cry by people demanding police reforms in Springfield.

The City Council voted to create a civilian board of police commissioners, but had to sue Mayor Domenic Sarno to get him to appoint the members.

In a statement following the verdict Thursday, Sarno said “it closes an ugly chapter in the history of our police department.”

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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