Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Former Somerville Police Officer Admits to Sufficient Facts in Connection with Deploying Pepper Spray on an Individual in Custody

SOMERVILLE – Former Somerville Police Officer Michael McGrath admitted to sufficient facts in Cambridge District Court to the charge of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon in connection with deploying pepper spray on an individual who was in custody and who posed no threat to him.

Updated statement:

As reported by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, on May 5, 2022, former Somerville Police Officer Michael McGrath admitted to sufficient facts in Cambridge District Court to the charge of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon.

McGrath admitted to having pepper-sprayed a handcuffed man on October 1, 2019. When the police administration learned of the incident, McGrath was placed on unpaid leave. An internal investigation by the Somerville Police Professional Standards Division found McGrath responsible for several violations of Departmental policies and Rules and Regulations including the use of unnecessary force. He was suspended without pay for a period of five days with a recommendation for additional discipline up to and including termination of his employment from the City of Somerville. McGrath resigned prior to the date of the suspension taking effect.

“While the overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers perform their duties with full professionalism, those who are alleged to have committed an act of misconduct will be held accountable. The City must be able to rely on the good judgment of its officers using force only when warranted by the circumstances as defined in Departmental policies. The public must have confidence that officers discharge their duties with all due care and restraint. The events depicted in the findings and related evidence fall disappointingly short of the Department’s expectations and do not represent the values of the Somerville Police Department,” said Acting Somerville Police Chief Charles Femino.

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