3 officers suspended after investigation into handling of crash involving New Bedford city councilor

SE Mass

NEW BEDFORD, Mass (WPRI) — Three New Bedford officers have been suspended without pay after an internal investigation determined they handled the car crash involving a New Bedford city councilor earlier this year “very poorly.”

Councilor Hugh Dunn, who represents Ward 3, reportedly hit two parked cars while driving down South Water Street back in May. In the accident report, officers described Dunn as being “confused, shaken and disoriented.”

At the time of the crash, the officers said they didn’t believe Dunn had been drinking, so they did not conduct a sobriety test; however, he did admit that he had taken allergy medication earlier in the day.

The 140-page internal investigation report into the incident concluded that the three officers involved, identified as Abraham Nazario, Jesse Branagan and Algimantas Harrell, failed to “ask the most basic questions.”

The internal report states the officers did not ask Dunn where he was coming from, where he was going or what had happened.

“It should be noted that these officers have been assigned to the center district for a very long time,” one investigator wrote in the report. “They all should have been aware that an accident around the same time of the crash, when the bars are closing, makes for a strong possibility that alcohol may be involved.”

When Dunn was transported to the hospital for evaluation, hospital staff said he was “clinically intoxicated,” according to the internal report.

The internal report indicates that Nazario, the lead officer, failed to follow up on Dunn’s condition once he arrived at the hospital.

Two officers were given a 3-day suspension without pay, while the third received a 20-day suspension without pay.

Dunn has since been charged with operating under the influence and is also facing a series of traffic citations.

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