WEYMOUTH, MASS. (WHDH) – A now former Weymouth police officer has resigned from his job after he was caught on camera in an incident last year where police said he punched a handcuffed man 13 times in the head.
Weymouth’s police chief said police body cameras and cruiser dash cameras rolling during the incident helped hold officer Justin Chappell accountable. Now, the chief is trying to make sure Chappell can’t work in law enforcement for a different department.
Chappell was called to a home on July 2, 2022 for a report of a drunk man causing a disturbance.
Investigators said there’s video of Chappell approaching the man. When the man didn’t follow orders to take his hands out of his pockets, Chappell hit him several times in the knees with a baton.
Other officers arrived and cuffed the man. Video then showed the man refusing to get into a cruiser and screaming racial slurs.
That’s when Chappell is accused of repeatedly punching the man.
Chappell explained his actions in a police report, writing “After being physically assaulted by (suspect) and spit on I applied four to five distraction techniques with a closed fist on the top of (suspect)’s head.”
According to paperwork obtained by 7NEWS, Chappell was also accused of using excessive force in February of last year in another arrest.
“I then delivered two strikes to (suspect) head with a closed fist at which (suspect) stopped actively resisting and was handcuffed and placed into the back of cruiser,” Chappell said in the corresponding police report.
Chappell was suspended for a day following the February incident.
After it was determined he used excessive force again in July, 2022, though, Weymouth’s chief began the process to decertify Chappell to prevent him from becoming an officer anywhere in Massachusetts.
A termination hearing was set, but Chappell resigned before it.
7NEWS spoke with Todd McGhee, a former state police defensive tactics instructor regarding this incident.
He said officers’ use of force must be on the same level as a suspect’s behavior — not more.
“Actions of a police officer that are so egregious would qualify for a one strike, if you will, and you’re terminated,” McGhee said. “But then there’s other times where it may have elements of excessive force but not to the point where it equals criminality.”
“Law enforcement needs to be right 100% of the time,” McGhee continued. “You know that coming onto the job and wearing the uniform.”
Chappell’s case is now in front of a state police oversight committee which will decide next steps that could include criminal charges.
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