Racism, Police, and Uber drivers: There is no happy ending
A 43-year-old veteran police officer, Michael Colin Doherty, of South Boston was found guilty on two counts of assault and battery while he was off duty, hitting an Uber driver on the early morning of January 4th, 2015.
The jury convicted Doherty, who has 16 years on the force, with the "use of racial and ethnic slurs during the confrontation," as well as assault and battery; they did not find him guilty of violating the civil rights of another man came to assist the Uber driver during the incident.
The police department suspended him after the indictment.
Boston police Commissioner William B. Evans told the press "Today's decision sends a strong and definitive message that police officers are not above the law and must answer for their actions should they choose to behave in a way that places the public in danger, whether they are on duty or off. As I have said before, I hold my officers to a very high standard, and I believe any actions that undermine the public's trust should have appropriate consequences."
According to the prosecution, Doherty was the passenger in the Uber car, when he started to shout at the 28-year-old driver that he was driving in the wrong direction and that he was driving to the wrong location. Prosecutors state that Doherty said, "What, you think I'm stupid, you [expletive]."
The driver stopped the vehicle at East Second and M streets, and then Doherty began beating him, he forced the driver out of the car and chased him. The Uber driver managed to wave down assistance, and Doherty stole the Uber vehicle, driving off after the victim. When both cars stopped at East First Street, Doherty got out and said to both men, "What do you want, you [expletive]?" He then started to attack both men, and hit the driver, knocking him to the ground.
Doherty's sentencing is set for April 17.
The prosecutor stated after the trial that "The defendant's conduct that night was reprehensible. His words and actions have no place in civilized society. They represented a crime against the victims, who were doing nothing more than trying to work for a living, and they were a slap in the face to countless police officers who work hard every day to earn the community's trust with honor and professionalism. Racially-motivated violence by anyone, sworn or civilian, will be investigated and prosecuted, and no one should ever be afraid to report it."