A Suffolk County grand jury on Friday indicted Transit Police officer Nicholas Morrissey, 41, for using excessive force against a homeless man at the Forest Hills T stop last April, then filing a report on the incident contradicted by the station's surveillance cameras and by witnesses, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.
Morrissey resigned shortly after the incident, when his superiors began questioning what had happened to the homeless man on April 28, in one of the station's busways.
According to the DA's office:
Transit Police were called to Forest Hills MBTA station for a report of an intoxicated homeless man who refused to depart from a bus that had completed its route on April 28. Officer Morrissey was the first officer to arrive at the location. He allegedly dragged the 63-year-old victim from the bus on the Forest Hills busway and forcibly held the man face-down with a knee on his back for 20 seconds, pushed his head into the pavement, and later dragged him out of the bus lane. The man, who is known to MBTA police, suffered abrasions to his face that required a response from Boston EMS.
A second officer arrived at the scene after these events transpired. That officer noted that the victim was bleeding from the forehead and appeared more agitated than in prior interactions. Unaware of the alleged assault by his colleague, the second officer began speaking with the victim in an effort to de-escalate the situation until an ambulance arrived.
A TPD superintendent had listened to the radio transmissions on the call in real-time as the events occurred and became concerned by the need for medical assistance. He later checked for a use-of-force report, which should have been filed in accordance with the department’s policy, and found none.
Officer Morrissey had instead filed a report on the incident alleging that the victim lost his balance while attempting to spit at him. Officer Morrissey said he grabbed the man by the shoulders and redirected him before the man fell through the bus door and hit his forehead on the pavement. The allegations contained in the report are not supported by security video or witness statements.
Morrissey is scheduled for arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court on March 5 on charges of assault and battery, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon (pavement), violating the victim’s civil rights and filing a false report.