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New England News
Thu March 29, 2012
Ex-cop Sent To Jail For Flashlight Assault
A former Springfield Massachusetts police officer will serve time behind bars for pummeling a man on the face with a flashlight after a traffic stop. The brutal assault was recorded by a passerby and the video posted to the internet, and was key evidence at the trial. WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill was at Wednesday’s sentencing hearing in Chicopee District Court.
Former Springfield police officer Jeffrey Asher was ordered to serve 18 months in jail followed by two years probation, and to undergo therapy for anger management. Judge Maureen Walsh sentenced Asher, who had been found guilty after a jury trial last month on two counts of assault and battery, one being with a dangerous weapon
Asher struck Melvin Jones III at least 17 times with a flashlight causing numerous broken facial bones, broken teeth, and a broken finger. Jones was left partially blind in one eye. Defense lawyer Joseph Monahan said Asher apologizes for the injuries Jones sustained, but he continues to insist he acted in self-defense, claiming Jones was trying to grab another officer’s gun.
Monahan is planning to file an appeal.
The judge’s sentence adhered to what had been recommended by the office of Hampden District Attorney Mark Mastrionni.
Jones, in a victim impact statement he read in court , described his injuries, and said he remains bitter about what happened. He said ..qoute. “ No matter what somebody does, nobody deserves to be beaten like a dog, like some animal in a cage.” His father, Melvin Jones, Jr called the sentence just.
The courtroom was packed with more than 150 people, including members of Asher’s family and friends including police officers. Several waived as Asher was led away by court officers to begin serving his jail sentence. Some left the courtroom in tears. They declined comment afterwards.
Community activists were also present for the sentencing. The president of the Springfield chapter of the NAACP, Rev. Talbert Swan said a criminal had been taken off the streets.
Asher is white, Melvin Jones III is black. Jones has a criminal record and is currently awaiting trial on drug trafficking charges. Asher had no previous criminal record, but he was reportedly disciplined multiple times during his 16 year career as a police officer over complaints of excessive force.
Jones has filed a federal court lawsuit against the city of Springfield and its police department alleging Asher and other officers violated his civil rights.
Asher was fired from the Springfield Police Department 8 months after the assault on Jones. But the day before his official termination, Asher was granted retirement with a disability pension. The city’s retirement board is expected to vote next month on a motion to strip Asher of his pension, which is 45 thousand, 347 dollars a year.