Following Globe report, MBTA Transit Police call special prosecutor as Suffolk DA Hayden announces grand jury investigation into cover-up

Hayden’s decision follows a Globe report on the incident which raised questions about whether his office tried to quash the case. He inherited it when he took office earlier this year. But this summer, transit police leaders lost faith in the process.

“This case is and always has been about making sure the victim is heard, conducting an investigation free from bias, and following the evidence no matter where it has led,” the Superintendent of Police said. transportation, Richard Sullivan, in a statement. “With everything that has come to light regarding this case, the Department believes the most prudent course of action is to appoint a special prosecutor.”

The district attorney, who has a primary election next month, has faced increasing pressure since The Globe reported on Sunday that Hayden’s deputy principal, Kevin Mullen, told a lawyer for one of the agents of the public transport accused that he had “no desire to pursue this matter”. ”

The attorney, Robert Griffin, recorded the conversation in a sworn affidavit filed in Boston City Court.

Hayden’s office initially told The Globe that Griffin’s affidavit was “not true”, a charge which, if proven, could result in Griffin being disbarred. Griffin backed up her case and provided text messages to back up her account. A second attorney, Anthony Riccio, who is representing the second officer in the case, also told The Globe that Mullen told him he did not expect the case to be prosecuted.

The Hayden administration later said Griffin misunderstood Mullen.

On Wednesday, Hayden issued a press release saying the case still remained open and the grand jury timing had nothing to do with the Globe report.

“I understand that today’s announcement will be seen as a reaction to media reports,” Hayden said. “I can’t control perceptions. But I can assure everyone that this action would happen within the same time frame, regardless of whether or not this investigation attracted attention.

The victim in the case, Jason Leonor, 33, of Boston, said Wednesday that the only reason the grand jury inquest was announced was the publicity surrounding the case. He expressed gratitude that the process seemed to be moving forward, but had concerns that the district attorney’s office was handling the investigation.

“I feel like Hayden shouldn’t be the only one pursuing this case – after all, I feel like he’s only doing it because the case has been investigated by . . . the Globe,” he said. “If this case had never been made public, I don’t think I would have ever gotten justice.”

Leonor alleged that Jacob Green, a white transit police officer, pointed his gun at him during a traffic conflict. Green summoned other officers to arrest the man, then wrote Leonor a note for a marked lane violation. The incident was recorded during a 911 call, which was reviewed by the Globe.

Green filed two police reports claiming he never pointed his gun, then called a police friend, who confirmed his story in what transit police officials said was an effort to induce the investigators in error. Transit officials took the matter to Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins, who launched an investigation.

But when Hayden took over from Rollins after she became a US attorney in Massachusetts, prosecutors decided to drop the case, according to transit officials and Green’s attorney. Hayden has denied that allegation and has since provided a series of changing and conflicting explanations for what happened.

Transit police officials had long pushed the district attorney’s office to press charges against Green and second officer Kevin Davis. Davis was fired, and Green informed the department that he planned to resign in September.

The controversy has upended the race for the Suffolk District Attorney, who is prosecuting criminal cases in Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop. Hayden was nominated by Governor Charlie Baker and took office earlier this year. He will face Councilman Ricardo Arroyo in the Democratic primary on September 6.

On Monday, Arroyo called for Hayden’s resignation, a move echoed by several lawmakers who support Arroyo’s bid for district attorney. During a debate on Tuesday, Arroyo said it was “infuriating” to see how Hayden handled the case. Hayden backed down and said he assigned a new prosecutor to the case before the Globe published its first story. A document reviewed by the Globe says the prosecutor was named to the case several hours after reporters questioned Hayden’s office.

Hayden also came under fire for accepting campaign donations from one of the accused transit officers and his lawyer days after Mullen, his deputy, reportedly said he had no desire to pursue the case. Griffin, a defense attorney and longtime Hayden supporter, gave $100, and the officer, Green, gave $125. Following Globe inquiries, Hayden’s campaign said it returned the money.

Hayden’s campaign initially said the district attorney didn’t ask for the donations, but Hayden later backtracked. Griffin said Hayden called him personally to solicit the donation. Hayden’s campaign said the district attorney must have overlooked the call.

Hayden addressed the donations again in Wednesday’s press release.

“I would not jeopardize my integrity, or the integrity of this office, by agreeing in any way to terminate an investigation because of campaign donations, as has been suggested,” Hayden said. “Nor would I compromise my integrity, or the integrity of the office, by not pursuing charges because the suspect is a police officer.”

Andrew Ryan can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @globeandrewryan. Evan Allen can be contacted at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @evanmallen.

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