One of the most important responsibilities of an attorney general is to function as the state’s chief law enforcement officer. Within this capacity an obligation exists to foster integrity in public service at state, county and local levels to promote the public’s trust and confidence. But what happens when a citizen submits legitimate and irrefutable information regarding corruption within the public sector?
I forwarded to the Massachusetts attorney general’s office, proof that members of the Pittsfield Police Department knowingly fabricated and manipulated “evidence” and “facts” so that it would appear that a case had been solved and favor could be gained. The materials encompassed: (1) Trial transcript excerpts in which police detectives had been forced to admit corruption, (2) Documentation from forensic experts that reiterated specific acts of police corruption, (3) Signed affidavits attesting to police corruption from members of the forensic community.
In an effort to keep their hands clean, the attorney general’s office instructed me to bring the matter before Berkshire County district attorney David Capeless. How utterly foolish. Asking David Capeless to investigate the Pittsfield Police Department is akin to hiring a fox to guard the henhouse.
Take for instance the summer of 2015 when a purported hard drive failure conveniently destroyed an undisclosed number of records and evidence. Had it not been for random chance, no one outside of the Pittsfied Police Department would have ever known about the incident. Police chief Michael Wynn intentionally withheld this information, jeopardizing the right to a fair trial for an unknown number of people. According to Wynn, the hard drive issues were first reported internally on June 22nd. Wynn was eventually forced to admit that the police didn’t inform the DA’s office until July 13, which means the police waited a full three weeks before informing prosecutors about the potential evidentiary issue.
Rather than launch a full scale investigation, DA Capeless aided and abetted the Pittsfield Police Department by concealing Wynn’s inappropriate actions. Not only did Capeless fail to levee disciplinary measures against an unscrupulous police chief, he joined in the cover up. Months after learning about the hard drive failure Capeless still hadn’t told anyone, including defense attorneys, about the loss—and no one from the police department or DA’s office will speak about it.
And yet the district attorney’s office, in conjunction with the police department, are expected to perform honestly and with integrity? These are the very individuals who are entrusted to maintain public order and peace. Why shouldn’t the Pittsfield Police Department be corrupt? The district attorney not only condones such action, he encourages it.