STONEHAM, MASS. (WHDH) - A Hingham police officer was arraigned Wednesday in connection with accusations that he brandished a firearm during a verbal altercation while off-duty in Stoneham back on December 26, according to Middlesex County DA Marian Ryan.

Joel Salituri, 43, of Stoneham is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. He was released on personal recognizance and ordered to stay away from and not have contact with the victim.

7NEWS spoke with the victim, David Alford, who said Salituri cut him off on I-93. In court paperwork, officials said Salituri told police Alford was tailgating him. Officials said the two men continued back and forth through Stoneham where they both live. 

Alford said he eventually stopped next to the Stoneham Police Station and snapped a picture hoping to put off Salituri. He said he later pulled into a well lit parking lot where he and Salituri came face to face inside their cars

Alford said he said “my uncle is a cop” to which Salituri said “I’m a cop.” What happened next is a matter of disagreement.

Alford said Salituri pulled out his gun and showed it while shouting racist taunts at Alford, who is half Black. Alford said he had his own gun in a holster but never showed it. 

“I said some stuff and then he pulled his weapon out on me,” Alford said. “And then after I told him I had one too to protect myself with the second amendment he said ‘Oh yeah, you have a weapon too? Let’s play a game.’”

Police said Salituri told a different story. 

“He said that he told David [Alford] he ‘had section 8 housing,’ and ‘no education,’” police said. “Joel [Salituri] denied pulling a gun. He said that he had his cellphone in his hand, up to his ear.”

Speaking this week, Alford and his lawyer praised Stoneham police for pursuing this case. 

“I appreciate Stoneham police 100% for them backing me up on this because they took a lot of their time to realize that that guy is out to harm me,” Alford said. 

In a statement, the town of Hingham said Salituri was placed on leave on Dec. 27, one day after this incident. Salituri, officials said, “will not be eligible to work as an HPD officer until this matter has been resolved.”

Officials said the Hingham Police Department is cooperating with the investigation into this incident, adding that Hingham police are also conducting their own internal investigation. 

“The Town of Hingham is deeply concerned with these allegations,” the town said in its statement. “As more information becomes available, we will consider all options up to and including termination. The Town remains committed to a zero-tolerance policy regarding discrimination of any nature.”

(Copyright (c) 2024 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox