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BREAKING: OFFICER ACCUSED OF ASSAULTING ANIMALS AS LEADERS HAS PRIOR HISTORY OF ABUSE

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BREAKING: OFFICER ACCUSED OF ASSAULTING ANIMALS AS LEADERS HAS PRIOR HISTORY OF ABUSEphoto by Patrick Whittemore

Update, 2:44 pm: According to Animals as Leaders’ management, Cooley was NOT the arresting officer although he was present at the scene. Original story follows…

This morning, we learned, rather upsettingly, that members of Animals as Leaders were recently assaulted by officers in the Boston Police Department, and that at least one musician in the group, co-guitarist Javier Reyes, was even wrongfully arrested and charged with assault and battery by the officers in question. But we knew little about the officers involved, besides the fact that one of them is named Cooley — until now.

Clever MetalSucks readers did some homework and discovered that the Boston PD does employ an officer named Rance Cooley (pictured above — and, yup, here’s his Facebook page, which another MS reader located) — and that he has a history of using excessive force, abusing his power as an officer of the law, and lying to get convictions when he didn’t have sufficient evidence. From Boston.com:

“A Boston police officer under investigation for allegedly giving contradictory testimony in a 2008 federal case is now being accused of misleading a Suffolk Superior Court during a jury trial, which ended in the conviction and a four- to six-year prison sentence for a Dorchester man.

“Officer Rance Cooley was the only witness who said he saw Earl Grant throw a gun underneath a vehicle after Cooley and two other officers approached him and a group of men at a Dorchester function hall in January 2006.

“The other officers testified they had not seen Grant with the weapon, making Cooley’s testimony crucial to the prosecution’s case.

“Grant, who is now 45, was found guilty by a jury of unlawful possession of a firearm in January 2009. He was sentenced as a career criminal because he had two prior drug convictions.

“Yesterday, Grant’s lawyer, Veronica White, said Suffolk County prosecutors and Cooley misled her and the court when they said Cooley had no additional internal affairs investigations against him beyond what had already been disclosed. He had at least one, White said: He had been reprimanded in 2006 for failing to report he had used force during a 2005 arrest.”

And from TalkLeft — keep in mind these words were written by a judge:

“As described in this Memorandum, in an effort to justify the seizure of Jones, the government argued, and Boston Police Officer Rance Cooley falsely testified, that there was justification to stop Jones because, despite the dark and the distance between them, he identified Jones as he rode his bicycle down Middleton Street in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Cooley testified that his suspicions were raised when Jones pedaled away from him because Cooley knew Jones and Jones had never avoided Cooley before.

“However, Cooley had on several earlier occasions told the lead prosecutor in this case, Suzanne Sullivan, that he did not recognize Jones on Middleton Street and did not identify the man who had been on the bicycle as Jones until later, when other officers had tackled Jones at another location.

“Cooley’s important inconsistent statements were not disclosed to Jones until the court conducted an in camera review of Sullivan’s notes, just before the suppression hearing was complete. Sullivan and her supervisor, James Herbert, acknowledge that Cooley’s prior inconsistent statements constituted material exculpatory evidence, and that the failure to disclose them violated the government’s constitutional duty under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 419 (1963), its progeny, and the court’s orders.”

And, perhaps most disturbingly of all, from MassCops.com:

“Cooley has received commendations from the department for his work locking up gangbangers and served as Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s driver until about a year ago. He also has a 273-page internal affairs file that includes multiple complaints of excessive force. However, only a portion of one of those six complaints was proved.”

So this guy obviously has a history of pulling these kinds of stunts — and, unfortunately, he seems to have a history of getting away with it. We can only hope that’s not the case this time.

More news as it becomes available.

-AR

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