Court rules no pension for cop who drunkenly shot fellow officer while off duty

The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled today that Boston Police Officer Paul Durkin lost his right to a city pension the night he pulled out his service revolver and shot another cop who was trying to get him to stop stumbling down VFW Parkway in West Roxbury after a night of drinking.

It cannot be gainsaid that police officers, who are extensively trained in the use of firearms, and who carry their service revolvers with them while off-duty, have a high degree of responsibility to which the public deserves and demands adherence. Simply, an officer who consumes an excess amount of alcohol and uses his service revolver to shoot, without any justification whatsoever, a fellow officer from a distance of a few feet, has sadly breached that trust.

According to the ruling, on June 21, 2006, Durkin finished his BPD shift and headed to a cookout at the Dorchester Yacht Club, his department-issued firearm in a holster on his hip. He left the cookout around midnight, went to a bar in Dorchester and kept drinking.

As Durkin was leaving the lounge, a fellow police officer, Joseph Behnke, believing Durkin too intoxicated to drive, suggested that Durkin sleep at Behnke's house in the West Roxbury area of Boston. Durkin agreed. Upon their arrival at Behnke's house, Durkin, who had fallen asleep during the drive, woke up, left the car, and started walking "in a highly intoxicated state" in a direction away from Behnke's house. Behnke followed Durkin on foot, asking him to come back to the house. In response, Durkin, from a distance of five to six feet, pulled out his weapon and fired one shot at Behnke, striking him near his hip. In response, Behnke shouted, "I've been shot, Paul, you shot me!" Durkin walked away, and while leaving the scene called a friend on his cellular telephone and asked to be picked up and driven away.

Durkin pleaded guilty to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, but then applied for his pension, which was rejected by the Boston Retirement Board.

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