Federal Officials to Investigate Police in Massachusetts City

The U.S. Attorney’s office for Massachusetts and the Department of Justice will conduct an investigation to find out if the Worcester Police Department has a pattern of discriminatory conduct and excessive force.

“Based on information provided to the Justice Department, we find significant justification to investigate whether the Worcester Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of racially discriminatory and gender-biased policing, and uses excessive force,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who heads the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Rachel Rollins said in a statement: “The City of Worcester is a thriving and vital part of our District and we work closely every day with its Police Department. Worcester police officers have a challenging job of ensuring the safety of the Worcester community. This often means responding to or encountering tense and at times dangerous conflicts and situations. I am well aware that the overwhelming majority of officers serve and do their jobs with honor, pride, restraint and distinction.”

The Justice Department notes that various Worcester officials, including Mayor Joseph Petty, Acting City Manager Eric Batista, and Police Chief Steven Sargent, were all informed of the investigation prior to the announcement and all three pledged to cooperate with investigators.

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