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Worcester Police Sergeant Roche Cleared of Excessive Force Allegations

Thursday, February 21, 2019

 

Worcester Police Sergeant Stephen Roche was found “not responsible” by a jury on a claim of use of excessive force against Jose Ortiz during a 2014 drug raid in the area of West Boylston Street. 

“Sgt. Roche has had a long, impressive career with the Worcester Police Department Gang Unit. His dedication to the youth of the community has led to generations of young people developing positive relationships with the police. I worked with him for many years, and his integrity and professionalism are beyond reproach. I would like to thank Wendy Quinn and Kevin Gould for their impressive work on this case,” said Police Chief Steven Sargent.

The decision ends a federal lawsuit that was brought against Roche by attorney Hector Pineiro on behalf of Ortiz.

The Incident

The incident took place on March 8, 2014, when Roche was helping the Worcester Police Vice Squad execute search warrants following a 14-month drug investigation.

Ortiz, a livery driver, had dropped off a drug dealer at a home being raided. Ortiz was detained while police used the search warrant, but was not arrested.

In court, Ortiz alleged that Roche hit him with his gun, while Roche claimed that the man hit his head against the gun during an interaction while Ortiz was sitting in his livery car.

In his testimony, Roche said that Ortiz reached for his radio, which Roche thought could be a gun, prompting the Worcester police officer to extend his own gun inside the car.

Roche went on to say that Ortiz turned his head back toward him and hit his face on the muzzle of the gun.

Ortiz received three stitches to his eyelid area following the incident.

 

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