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Ex-BU officer suing school
Accuses chief of discrimination
By Marcella Bombardieri, Globe Staff | July 11, 2005

The former deputy chief of the Boston University Police Department says he was fired after confronting the police chief, accusing him in a lawsuit and deposition of attempting to steal BU property, engaging in nepotism, discriminating against women, and trying to hide evidence of racial profiling.

In sworn depositions and interviews, Enrico Cappucci, who was deputy chief until he was laid off more than two years ago, and another former officer paint a picture of the 55-member department as a place where Chief Robert T. Shea ruled capriciously, punishing those who pressed him to follow the rules.

He and the other former officer, Anthony Diorio, said Shea seemed to act with impunity because his wife, Anne W. Shea, is vice president for enrollment and student affairs -- a powerful figure at BU who was once chief of staff to then-president John Silber.

The university and Anne Shea strongly disputed the allegations.

''Fundamentally, this is a case about disgruntled former employees who want money from the university," BU said in a statement that alleged the two men had threatened to go to the news media if the university didn't settle the case. ''We look forward to presenting our detailed response in court."

Robert Shea, who is named along with BU in the lawsuit, did not return phone calls seeking comment, but denied Cappucci's allegations in a deposition. In a brief phone interview, Anne Shea called the officers' allegations ''offensively mistaken and vicious."

The lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial in Suffolk Superior Court in September.

In court documents, the university says Cappucci was laid off because of budget constraints. The two officials involved in the layoff, however, gave contradictory accounts. In depositions, Shea said he was specifically instructed to lay off Cappucci; his supervisor, BU senior vice president Richard Towle, said he only told Shea to make cuts in the administrative staff.

Cappucci, 62, who served as police chief in his hometown of Shirley and then in Duxbury for a combined 14 years, said he took a job at BU in 1996 to pay off bills so he and his wife could retire more comfortably. He said his troubles started in 2000, when another officer told him Shea was taking a computer from the station. Cappucci said he confronted Shea as the chief was loading the computer into his car, and told him to bring it back.

Diorio, a former captain who settled his own ethnic discrimination complaint to the state against BU in November, said in a deposition that he saw Cappucci tell Shea: ''Listen, chief, if you didn't put it back, I was going to arrest you. And you can't do this stuff. You can't operate like the old days," and that Shea responded: ''I'm the chief. I can do what I want."

Shea disputed their allegations, saying in his deposition that he went through the proper channels to purchase the computer for $350.

In 2002, Cappucci said, he and Shea clashed over promotions. By all accounts, Shea had encouraged Stephanie Bean to take the exam for promotion to a sergeant's position. Bean earned the highest score, an 89, on the written test, but Cappucci said Shea did not want to recommend her for the promotion because she is a woman.

Shea called women ''empty suits," more concerned with their home life than the job, Diorio and Cappucci said in depositions.

There was one sergeant's slot open in early 2002, Cappucci said, but Shea presented Towle with three names: Bean, Taso Giannopoulos, and Daniel Healy -- who Cappucci said was Shea's godson.

In a deposition, Cappucci quoted Shea as saying, ''I've got to get my godson made because I promised." Cappucci said he responded that Bean should get the job, but Shea told him, ''No, not making an empty suit."

Giannopoulos, who Shea said scored a 70, was promoted. Shea said in his deposition that he recommended Bean, but Towle, who had the authority to make the final decision, chose Giannopoulos because he did better on an oral exam. Towle said in his deposition that he and Shea had agreed on Giannopoulos.

Bean said in a deposition that the chief encouraged her to take the exam and she didn't know why she was passed over.

When another sergeant's position opened about six months later, Cappucci said in a deposition, Shea told him he was going to promote Healy, not Bean, saying: ''Look I want your support here. I promised his dad." When Cappucci refused, Shea told Towle he wanted to promote Healy and Bean, even though there was only one opening. In the deposition, Cappucci said he told Towle that if Bean was not promoted, they would end up before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. Towle promoted Bean.

Cappucci said Shea blew up at him in the elevator after the meeting, saying, ''You have been totally disloyal to me."

Shea said in his deposition he didn't remember whether he was Healy's godfather: ''I think I am, but I'm not sure." Shea also said his nephew and his stepson, Anne Shea's son, both worked for the Police Department.

In spring 2002, Richard White, another BU officer, wrote a letter of complaint to the university's board of trustees, saying Shea kept on the sun visor of his cruiser a photo of a black man who appeared to be getting choked by white hands.

Cappucci said in his deposition that he confronted the chief about the photo and that Shea said his wife ''gets a kick out of it."

Shea acknowledged in his deposition having had a booking photo in his cruiser of a black man being restrained.

Diorio said in his deposition that Shea frequently referred to him using a derogatory term for Italians and also used derogatory labels for African-Americans. Shea denied both allegations.

In fall 2002, a black graduate student, Jason Hadnot, contended that he was the victim of racial profiling after two BU police officers stopped him and questioned him at length. Diorio, under Cappucci's supervision, began investigating the report, but they say Shea reassigned the case to a less experienced officer. Shea said in his deposition that the officer was more experienced than Diorio.

Shea said in his deposition that the two officers who stopped Hadnot received an oral reprimand and that the whole department attended training on racial profiling.

About the same time, Cappucci said in his deposition, he told Shea ''we're showing a pattern of racial discrimination," because records indicated that for every 10 people stopped by the campus police, seven were black and three were white. Less than 3 percent of BU's students identify themselves as black. Cappucci said Shea told him to tell another officer ''to take the race out of those reports," ''and I said to him, 'We can't do that.' " Cappucci said he did advise the other officer about Shea's wishes.

On Nov. 5, 2002, Shea told Cappucci he was being laid off.
 

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Shea said in his deposition he didn't remember whether he was Healy's godfather: ''I think I am, but I'm not sure." Shea also said his nephew and his stepson, Anne Shea's son, both worked for the Police Department.
Early Alzheimer's?? This guy is fuc%ed up.
 

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At least Boston showed up in force (10 cruisers) But it was us RENT-A-COPS who had to take action... Then ORDERED not too.... We know the story and it is all on CCTV.... It will happen again next weekend and WE will have to take care of business before we call BUPD... That way...the total F*&%^ up won't happen again... and we won't have to wake them up from their naps...
 

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Sorry i can't say anything..... None of U would believe what happened... I will let one of my fellow officers tell U or maybe we should PM about that F&^%$ up mess on 4th of July
 
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hey Bmc,

I wasn't working on July 4th, and I don't really know what happened. I was told the short of the whole thing. What I was told is when we were called the confrontation was already taking place (obviously if you had known it was gonna happen, you would have called sooner) and we already had someone on the way there as part of our nightly patrol. I don't know what your problem is but to take a shot at us and say you didn't want to wake us up from our naps is a little imature and uncalled for. With only 4 guys on that night (I'm guessing since I wasn't working) Boston would have shown up anyway and probably would have ordered us around the same way..

I know it's easy for you to bash us since our chief was in the paper yesterday, but our department is full of guys who love to work and love what they do. We treat BMC calls just as serious as we treat any other call.
 

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you are right it was a cheap shot.... I do apologize........ But on many times we have called (ring down) we are treated like second class citizens. I get along great with only a handfull of BUPD who will atleast talk to a BUMC officer nevermind acknoledge that we are on the same planet. I have even helped the undercover guys obtain info or made arrest for them.
But every class BU has we have at least 5-10 guys for that postion whom have Master degrees, acedemies and everything else. But for one reason or the other they are not hired.... So when this article comes out it makes the people whom have tired to get on BUPD, feel a little better knowing that it wasn't them (the reason not being hired)... Nevermind all the towns that do the same practices. Everyone gets a chip on their shoulder. Wouldn't you??? We deal with the same POS everyday.... No matter who arrest them, BU, BMC BPD they are here.
That night 4th of July. 5 GSW came into the Hospital. 3 from the same party We are not ARMED and we are expected to act if we are. Put yourself in our shoes. Deal with people who are probly carrying we have no idea and the only defense we have is to throw our radio, baton, spray, or chair at them and hopefully they don't shot us....
yes I get mad because I have the desire, training and love to do REAL police work but I couldn't get on anywhere becasue like a dumby I tryed to get on the job with my own abliity not using a connection... Look where that has gotten me.... I make great money, work with great officers and have great benefits BUT I (we) still get looked down upon as rent a cops while people probly don't even want the job are working on it..
I will Quote a BPD officer while I was at booking... "I hate this job, They can shove this place." Know what my reply was," I will take it you want to switch I know 80 guys who would die for this job." BPD reply, "Ya right I would work at BMC with full EDT gear."
That is my rant... Sorry to offend you BUguy... Not ment to.. You love your job and work hard it great... I will call upon you to help anytime...Remember you have the blue uniforms and guns.. I have the white shirts and baton..... I get shit on everyday from Doctors to shit bags just because....I am doing my job.

Nevermind worrying what we are going to take home to our families, (TB)
 
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I've never heard anyone in my department refer to you guys as rent-a-cops..Hell, people refer to us as such on occasion. Would I do your job? not unless it was the last thing on earth, but that is no reason to be hostile towards us..do I believe people give you a hard time for being security? of course, I am not naive, but don't let those few disgruntled people ruin the image of the rest of us..do people bust our balls? you bet they do..you can carry as many firearms as you want, if your badge doesn't represent a municipality or the state, there are always going to be people who want to refer to you as security, or rent-a-cops, or whatever else we can come up with.
As far as getting on any police department, there are always politics involved. It's not just BU where this type of thing can happen.
I'm glad you love your job, makes it easier for us to deal with guys like you when they enjoy what they are doing. Just remember when the boys in "blue" (not white...lol) show up we love what we do just as much...
PM me, I think I went to high school with one of your guys
 

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Well, it seems like the BU Police have the same problems as a lot of departments, city,towns,agencies etc. Adminstration gathers to much power and think that their word and their word alone is the last word and they are untouchable. Many have thought that in the past and found out different. I'm sure BU does not like their laundry hungout for all to see, this may bite Shea.
 
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