Medford officer resigns after traffic stop spat
"Hearing scheduled for Medford detective who threatened driver" by Travis Andersen Globe Staff September 10, 2015
A Medford police detective who was captured on video threatening to “put a hole” in a driver’s head will face a disciplinary hearing to determine what punishment he should receive for the July incident, which quickly went viral and prompted sharp criticism from city officials.
Detective Stephen LeBert could not be reached for comment Thursday, but his union president defended him while conceding that some form of punishment is warranted.
“We hope that it’s proper discipline, that it’s not excessive discipline,” said Harold MacGilvray, president of the Medford Police Patrolmen’s Association. “We support Detective LeBert 100 percent. He’s a good police officer.”
LeBert’s lawyer, Kenneth H. Anderson, agreed and said he is hoping “for cooler heads to prevail.”
“It seems like this [incident] has been grossly blown out of proportion,” Anderson said. “Yes, he was unprofessional, but I don’t think that’s anything that warrants termination.”
Motorist Michael A. Coates, 26, who described himself in the video as a Malden resident, and his lawyer could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
His attorney, Kristin Muniz, previously told the Globe, “It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when you need a dashcam to protect you from the police.”
Medford Police Chief Leo Sacco said shortly after the incident that he did not condone LeBert’s behavior and that “I can’t justify it.” He said people have previously “complained about LeBert for being rude, discourteous, and bullying.”
But in an earlier interview, Sacco described LeBert, who has prior disciplinary infractions on his record, as an effective officer. The chief could not be reached for comment on Thursday night.
Related: Medford Cop Was Mean