DA investigating MBTA cop who allegedly dragged black man off bus, knelt on his back

BOSTON (WHDH) - The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the actions of an MBTA transit police officer who resigned late last month after he allegedly dragged a 63-year-old man off a bus, knelt on his back and pushed his face into the ground, officials said.

Authorities began looking into the actions of officer Nicholas Morrissey after surveillance video showed him dragging a black man off of a bus at Forest Hills Station in April, The Boston Globe first reported.

Morrissey allegedly dragged the man, who was homeless and intoxicated, off a bus on the Forest Hills busway and held him down with a knee to his back for 20 seconds, pushing his head into the pavement and dragging him out of the bus lane, the DA’s office said. The man suffered cuts to his face.

Morrissey’s alleged assault was captured on video, but according to the DA’s office, Morrissey filed a report stating the man lost his balance while trying to spit at him and that the man fell through the bus door and hit his forehead on the ground.

“Although it is unusual for my office to comment on ongoing investigations, the behaviors of law enforcement personnel must be held to a higher standard and require transparency,’’ District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement.

Morrissey resigned from the force on May 29 before the MBTA terminated him. His supervisor has been placed on administrative leave.

“The alleged events, as described, are contrary to the core values and mission of the MBTA and its police department. Transit Police officers receive specialized training in de-escalation techniques and are expected to treat riders with dignity and respect at all times,” MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said in a statement. “We take this matter very seriously.”

Poftak added that an investigation into the alleged incident remains ongoing.

“The Transit Police Department’s Command Staff is conferring with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office and a thorough investigation is underway,” Poftak said.

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