Police

Mass. State Trooper Suing After Commanders Made Him Edit Report About Judge's Daughters

Police agencies regularly demonstrate the need for radical reform.

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MSP

Massachusetts State Trooper Ryan Sceviour is suing his superiors with the State Police, including Supt. Richard D. McKeon, alleging they ordered him to alter a police report involving the daughter of a judge in a DUI and drug incident.

The state police aren't disputing Sceviour's central claim, arguing the order to change the report was appropriate.

Sceviour arrived at the scene of a crash Oct. 16 on I-190 in Worcester. Behind the wheel he reported he found Alli Bibaud, daughter of Timothy Bibaud, who presides over drug cases for the Dudley District Court, reeking of alcohol with a "heroin kit" in the car, according to the Boston Globe.

Sceviour's report said Bibaud told him she had traded sex for drugs and that she was the daughter of a judge who would kill her if he found out. Bibaud allegedly offered to have sex with Sceviour for more lenient treatment.

A state trooper called Sceviour on his day off two days later and told him to report to barracks in Holden, 90 miles away, where he was ordered to alter his police report. In his suit, Sceviour alleges he was reprimanded for including Bibaud's statements in his report.

A police spokesperson responded to that by insisting, as WBUR reports, that a reprimand was not "technically discipline."

"The revision consisted of removal of what the Colonel and senior commanders felt was a sensationalistic and inflammatory directly-quoted statement that made no contribution to proving the elements of the crimes with which she was charged." a police spokesperson told the Globe.

Whether Bibaud's comments belong in the report is an open question. Between 2009 and 2014, nearly 1,000 officers in the U.S. were fired for sex crimes or sexual misconduct. It's not hard to imagine how neglecting to report an offer of sex for leniency could backfire.

More importantly, the lack of any effort to ensure that "sensationalistic and inflammatory" statements by other suspects don't appear in police reports suggests the state police was more interested in protecting Bibaud's father than the privacy of all people arrested by state police.

Sceviour's lawsuit suggests a lack of any substantive mechanism for whistleblowing, either within the state police agency itself, or elsewhere in state government. Sceviour claims the actions of his commanders and McKeon, caused "damage to his reputation, have negatively impacted his employment, and have caused him severe emotional distress."

Remember that next time police insist a bad actor within their ranks has been reprimanded.

This incident illustrates the toxicity of a law enforcement and criminal justice culture largely aligned to protect and perpetuate itself, as well as the urgency of substantive police reform and its nexus with limiting the size and power of government. It starts with the ability to hold police officers, their superiors, and other government officials accountable in systematic ways.

Real whistleblower protections, transparency in criminal justice processes, and zero tolerance for misconduct and other inappropriate behavior (and the role back in the privileges and immunities cops and other actors are afforded by law and contract) are policies lawmakers at local levels of government can deploy to transform the police agencies that are supposed to work for the same people that elect those lawmakers.

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23 responses to “Mass. State Trooper Suing After Commanders Made Him Edit Report About Judge's Daughters

  1. Why do Mass. cops where Nazi Army hats?

    1. “You plan on pullin over caaars there buddy or ah you planning to invade poland?”

    2. So they look fabulous at state funerals for fallen K9 officer heroes?

      1. Now I understand the use of the German Shepard.

    3. Does it matter where they wear their headware?

  2. “Alli Bibaud”

    Have they caught the 40 Thieves?

    1. Only 40 needles.

  3. I’m sure they’d summon cop to headquarters if their report about Joe Average DUI suspect included a passage saying Joe offered the officer a BJ.

  4. Can we please get a pic of this poor soul so we can pray for her?

  5. Two things. First, judging from the picture, Trooper is Sceviour looks a little young. Perhaps he is naive and a little idealistic. That’s just not how things work. I don’t think he’s going to have much of a career in Mass. law enforcement. I’m not saying it should be that way. But that’s the way it is. I can just hear the parody of a redneck sheriff in the South, “you ain’t from around here are ya boy.”

    The other thing is an editing comment for Ed: “…the role back in the privileges and immunities” I hate to be a grammar infidel but c’mon man. You’re a writer. That just hurts to read.

  6. “The revision consisted of removal of what the Colonel and senior commanders felt was a sensationalistic and inflammatory directly-quoted statement that made no contribution to proving the elements of the crimes with which she was charged.” a police spokesperson told the Globe.

    Oh, sorry. I’ll charge her for the crime of solicitation then.

  7. Frankly, this officers main mistake was that he assumed that the rule of law was actually applied without consideration of who is being accused. Rookie move, boyo.

    Our entire justice system is rigged in favor of those with money and connections. Just observe the simple fact that every single traffic citation or bullshit ticket you receive is a money or jail time offense. What you think of as a minor, say $150, ticket is actually jail for someone who can’t afford it.

    So say what you will, but American justice amounts to legalized bribery and a world of haves and have not’s. That is absolutely not equal application of the law. I don’t care how you rationalize it, and make no mistake courts have rationalized it. They think that since those two options are the same for everyone, that it amounts to equal protection under the law. It does not.

    Why should someone poor sit in jail for speeding, while someone who has money just writes a check and goes home? Same crime, different punishment based on ability to pay. That is, simply put, wrong.

  8. Sounds like they wished he had taken her up on her offer.

    1. It was supposed to be his graduation present

  9. I’m biased against cops for several reasons, but *try* to be intellectually honest. How is the statement “Remember that next time police insist a bad actor within their ranks has been reprimanded” not simply preemptive guilt by association? Hows is that different than playing a video of some imam calling for the death of all Jews and saying “remember that the next time a muslim claims they don’t hate the Jews”?

    One can pretty easily argue that the current legal and extra-legal incentives create a system in which cops are unaccountable without issuing that kind of hot take.

    1. Cops are guilty of corruption and assholery until proven innocent.

    2. I think the point is that here, the cops say a reprimand is not punishment, and other times, they want to mollify the public by implying that reprimands are sufficient punishment for killing unarmed people.

  10. Why do Mass State troopers all look like they’re about to invade Poland?

      1. I wonder if I was subconsciously channeling that. I remember that movie, it was about cell phones.

  11. Yes, they need to stop being allowed to initiate force.

  12. Say, didn’t you used to be Bill Clinton?

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