MARBLEHEAD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A Marblehead police officer has resigned after being placed on leave for allegedly scratching a swastika into another officer's personal vehicle.
Marblehead Police Chief Robert Picariello said former police officer Timothy Tufts resigned from the department Wednesday as a result of the incident, which happened last year and has been under investigation for about a month.
"In mid-November, I was made aware of an incident involving a Marblehead Police officer in which they allegedly scratched a swastika into the paint of another officer's personal vehicle," Picariello said. "I immediately began to gather the facts of the incident, and the officer was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, consistent with the policies and procedures of the department."
Chief Picariello said Tufts initially joined the department in March 2016. Picariello added that he was "dismayed and deeply disturbed" by the incident.
"Today, there is no room for excuses of ignorance," Picariello said. "The swastika is a symbol of hate and genocide, and must speak up against acts of hate and hate speech whenever and wherever we encounter it. The Marblehead Police Department is committed to equality and respect of human rights and human dignity. This incident is not representative of the dedicated, decent women and men in our agency."
Picariello said he has been in contact with the Anti-Defamation League of New England and "will engage their invaluable training programs and resources for every member of the Marblehead Police Department." He also plans to commission an independent administrative review, and retain an outside investigator to conduct "a holistic finding of fact so that we can learn all of the facts of this incident and include it in our training programs."
The Marblehead Board of Selectmen said Tufts' behavior in no way reflects the values of the department, made evident by "the swift and decisive way" Chief Picariello responded to the incident once he became aware of it last month.
"We were deeply disappointed to learn of this incident, which is both a direct contradiction of the spirit of inclusion we hold dear in our community, and a violation of the high standards to which we hold our law enforcement officers here in Marblehead," the Board said.
Written by Brit Smith
(Photo: Marblehead Police Department/Facebook)