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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

AG awaits state police probe of domestic violence charges against Brookline chief’s son

BROOKLINE – Roughly two months after the Board of Selectmen referred a complaint to the attorney general about the Police Department’s response to an alleged domestic violence crime involving the chief’s son, the matter remains on hold, pending a criminal investigation by state police.

“Once the investigation is complete, it will go to the appropriate county for review,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said last week , referring to the request from the town to look into allegations that members of the Brookline Police Department didn’t follow protocol after an alleged domestic disturbance involving the chief’s son.

While the query into the town’s handling of the matter is on hold, state police are investigating possible criminal charges against Jonathan Quigley, stemming from a May 19 altercation with Nicole Shank, his former girlfriend. The incident occurred in the Brookline home the couple had shared with Shank’s two children.

State police Capt. David Parenteau, head of the investigative services bureau, confirmed that state police are investigating “allegations of domestic violence” involving Jonathan Quigley, based on the “victim’s request.”

“We have no jurisdiction to investigate another police agency,” Parenteau said, adding that such concerns could be referred to the Office of Public Integrity in the attorney general’s office.

Shank, who obtained a restraining order against Jonathan Quigley, maintains that police did not investigate for domestic violence after the altercation because it involved the chief’s son despite evidence suggesting a crime had been committed.

Police Chief Quigley said no further action was taken because the department never received a call for service.

Shank requested police surveillance videos taken Sept. 26, the day she asked for an investigation of the Police Department, and for videos from May 19, when the domestic dispute occurred.

The Police Department discards surveillance tapes after 35 days, unless they are being preserved as evidence, and Shank received only the September tapes.

Shank paid $50 for two tapes – one taken at the police station, the other at Town Hall – and after watching them, she complained that an hour had been deleted.

In a letter to the board, she requested a refund and more investigation. Shank also asked for copies of Police Department policies on domestic violence and rules of conduct and a written explanation as to why her video copy had been tampered with.

In addition, she asked if the board had a “zero tolerance” policy for “violators of Domestic Violence,” and she wanted to know which board members decided the chief hadn’t violated police policies.

Shank also asked which board members recused themselves from her issue because of “previous public bias toward me.”

She wanted to know who produced the video copy she received and why the board shared her complaint with the police chief “when he is the subject of a formal complaint.” She also questioned how the Board of Selectmen concluded that no Police Department policies were violated, given an ongoing criminal investigation.

Meanwhile, selectmen last Monday signed a formal response to Shank’s Nov. 21 complaint.

Written by selectmen’s Chairman Tad Putney, the letter explains that the board’s response includes copies of the Police Department’s video surveillance and general rules of conduct policies, requested by Shank. And it also points out that under the Right-to-Know law, it isn’t obligated to address the question about tampering on the video, although it invites Shank to share any information she might have “that suggests otherwise.”

In response to Shank’s question about “Zero Tolerance” for domestic violence, the board wrote, “This request does not relate to any factual circumstances for which we are aware. If you want a response, we need more information regarding the circumstances.”

To Shank’s question asking who, among the board members, was “involved in making the decision that no policies were violated by Chief Quigley,” the board replied, “Given we are not aware of which specific ‘policies’ you refer to in this item, we are unable to provide an answer until you provide more specificity.”

The board requested “greater specificity” about Shank’s question asking which members had recused themselves because of “previous public bias” toward her.

And in response to her question about who made the tape she purchased from the town, she was told, “Assuming you are referring to the surveillance tape of September 26, it was done by Chief Quigley.”

Hattie Bernstein can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 24 or hbernstein@cabinet.com.