WOBURN, MASS. (WHDH) - All cases involving a Woburn police officer accused of helping plan a 2017 white nationalist rally will be placed under review, according to the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office.
District Attorney Marian Ryan announced that all pending and closed cases involving Officer John Donnelly will be subject to review, a day after Donnelly was put on administrative leave over allegations that he took part in the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Ryan called the allegations “disturbing” and said she intends to review all cases he has had a hand in during his time with the Woburn Police Department.
“We know allegations like this – the way in which they tear at the fabric of trust,” Ryan said on Friday.
Donnelly was suspended after his department learned of his alleged role in actively planning the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Other participants during the 2017 event included members of various white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups, as well as the Ku Klux Klan.
“That rally that took place, in which there’s the allegation of participation, was clearly intended to be a very violent situation,” said Ryan. “Communities deserve so much better than what is alleged here.”
Donnelly was a reserve police officer in Woburn at the time of the rally, and was sworn-in as a full-time officer with the department two years later.
The DA also said that next week, she will hold an emergency meeting with her office’s Anti-Hate Anti-Bias Task Force and experts on these types of allegations. Her office will also provide an opportunity for community input.
The announcement came a day after Woburn Police Chief Robert Rufo ordered an internal affairs review into Donnelly. The police department said the officer will remain on leave until the review is completed.
“What was said and done in Charlottesville is in direct opposition to the core values of the Woburn Police Department, to serve all members of our community equally and treat them with dignity and respect,” Chief Rufo said. “Should this allegation be sustained, the Woburn Police Department will ask Massachusetts Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission to decertify Officer Donnelly, ensuring he may no longer serve in law enforcement in Massachusetts.”
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