White Police Officer to Face Cost She Intimidated Son’s Black Buddy

0
368

A white Massachusetts police officer is being prosecuted in connection with an off duty episode in which she is accused of berating a black teenager, a friend of her son, for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement ruled this week by a court official has been .

A Dedham District Court assistant ruled Thursday after a likely hearing that criminal charges could be brought against Patricia Lio, an officer with the Milton Police Department.

The episode that sparked the indictment came on September 19, 2020, when Officer Lio’s son invited two of his friends, a black man and a Hispanic, to his home in Westwood, Massachusetts, to watch a Boston Celtics game to look at and sleep. The Boston Globe reported.

Officer Lio is accused of confronting the 14-year-old black teenager over his stance on the Black Lives Matter movement, Alfred A. Gray Jr., an attorney who represents the teenager and his family, said in an interview. She is also accused of beating her husband when he tried to intervene in the situation, Gray said.

According to court records, Officer Lio is charged with assault for intimidating, assaulting, and beating a household member. She is due to be indicted in late May.

The Westwood Police Department has led the investigation into the matter.

Officer Lio, who joined Milton’s police force nearly 20 years ago, has been on administrative leave since October, her attorney Douglas Louison said. The department’s internal investigation into their matter continues, he said, adding that Thursday’s decision was “disappointing” to his client.

“This incident and the facts related to it simply shouldn’t have brought criminal charges,” he said.

In a statement, Milton Police Department deputy chief James O’Neil said his department was “very concerned” about Officer Lio’s case.

“While the outcome of the criminal and internal cases is still unknown,” he said, “the Milton Police Department has no tolerance for prejudice, domestic violence, or aggressive behavior towards children.”

Risa King, a Boston lawyer and mother of the black teenager, said in an interview that she received a “disturbing text followed by a phone call” from her son on the evening of September 19.

Recognition…CJ Gunther / EPA via Shutterstock

Officer Lio claimed the teenager posted negative messages about police officers on social media, according to Mr. Gray, who represents Ms. King and her family. While the three boys were watching the Celtics game, Officer Lio went downstairs and eventually berated the teenager for “his stance on Black Lives Matter and their belief that his stance on BLM was inappropriate,” said Gray.

He said the teenager did not actually write the social media posts in question and “did not express any intention to use violence against police officers”.

According to a testimony at a probable cause hearing on Tuesday, Officer Lio asked the other teen, who is of Spanish descent, if he believed in Black Lives Matter and also referred to him as an immigrant, Gray said.

But Mr. Louison, Officer Lio’s attorney, said even though the officer had spoken to the black teenager about some of the perceptions Black Lives Matter projected onto the police, race was “never a component.”

Officer Lio’s son’s two teenage friends were eventually brought home by Officer Lio’s husband, who testified at the hearing that he was not hit by his wife, Officer Lio’s attorney said.

Ms. King described the aftermath of the episode with her 14-year-old son as “one of the worst and most difficult situations we had to contend with as a family”.

“We just want the officer to be responsible for their outrageous behavior towards the children,” she said.