Former Fall River #police officer Michael Pessoa, already serving time for a prior conviction, has pleaded guilty to two additional cases involving excessive force and #civilrights violations. The scheduled second trial was averted as Pessoa entered his plea before Superior Court Judge Thomas McGuire Jr. In this case, Pessoa was accused of severely injuring Carlos Roldan during an arrest in October 2014.
A third case involving the assault of Aliecer Rodriguez in March 2018 is pending.
Pessoa, a 20-year police veteran, had previously been found guilty in May of assault, witness intimidation, civil rights violations, and filing false reports related to an arrest in February 2019. In total, he faced 15 counts of assault, civil rights violations, and false police reports, initially involving four detained men. The fourth alleged victim's case was dropped after their death.
Pessoa received a concurrent sentence of 1 ½ to 3 years for the two recent guilty pleas, mirroring his previous punishment. The guilty verdicts stemmed from a pattern of conduct involving the abuse of authority and excessive force against members of the public, according to Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn.
Civil cases are still pending against Pessoa, including a $2 million federal civil rights lawsuit filed by David Lafrance, a victim of a 2019 assault. Pessoa is also implicated in a multimillion-dollar civil case related to the shooting death of Larry Ruiz-Barreto in 2017, where he was involved in a brawl with the victim's family members at a hospital. The legal proceedings continue, impacting public confidence in the police.
The guilty pleas of former police officer Michael Pessoa in multiple cases of excessive force and civil rights violations in Fall River, Massachusetts, underscore the pressing need for #abolitionnow.