• Federal lawsuit: Framingham retaliated after officer reported corruption to FBI

    By: Erin Smith

    Updated:

    FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - A Framingham police detective has filed a federal lawsuit, claiming town officials retaliated against him for reporting corruption allegations against fellow cops to the FBI, FOX25 has learned.

    Framingham Police Det. Matthew Gutwill, a 12-year veteran of the department, filed the lawsuit in Boston federal court Friday against the Town of Framingham and Police Chief Kenneth Ferguson, according to federal court records.

    Gutwill claims in his federal complaint that he was suspended from his job Aug. 19 in retaliation for reporting that a fellow detective lied under oath on the stand.

    Gutwill accuses Chief Ferguson of covering up the allegations against the officer and interfering with the internal investigation, court records show.

    “These are very serious allegations by a respected and admired public servant, who woke up every morning to get drugs off the street,” Gutwill’s attorney, Seth Robbins told FOX25. “He’s looking forward to litigating the issues in federal court and seeking justice.”

    The allegations of misdeeds and corruption inside the Framingham Police Department are also detailed in the federal court papers.

    According to court records, Gutwill reported to the FBI earlier this year:

    • Detectives took “mementos” from crime scenes, which they did not catalogue and hung in their offices as decorations;
    • Narcotics unit officers falsified information in affidavits in to hide that they let confidential informants buy drugs for their own use after making undercover buys for police;
    • Narcotics cops also used an informant to create probable cause for search warrants – even after they were informed by the DEA and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that the informant was involved in illegal activity and intercepted on a federal wire;
    • Chief Ferguson allowed one officer to study for his law degree while on duty;
    • An attorney, who was employed as the police chief’s assistant and a special police officer, was allowed to appear in court on behalf of his private clients during work hours and access law enforcement databases to help those clients;
    • Deputy chiefs failed to put in full work weeks;
    • Chief Ferguson was aware of multiple sergeants double dipping, claiming they were taking a day off work but instead working “overtime” or banking regular duty pay while working a detail at the same time.
    • Read the full complaint here

    Framingham Town Manager Bob Halpin hit back against those allegations, telling FOX25, “We note an absence of fact in the allegations.”

    Halpin also told FOX25, “I can confirm Det. Gutwill is currently on paid administrative leave pending disciplinary action. Earlier this year after allegations made by Det. Gutwill, including that he was being retaliated against, the town conducted an extensive, independent investigation of three allegations made by Det. Gutwill. And in each of the cases, found that there was no validity to the allegations and in fact, in several instances found that Det. Gutwill was untruthful.”

    The federal complaint alleges that Police Chief Ferguson accused Gutwill of “untruthfulness” and opened an investigation into his actions in March – about a month after Gutwill spoke with the FBI.

    Ferguson placed Gutwill on administrative leave Aug. 19 after an investigation into Gutwill’s “untruthfulness,” according to court records.

    “… the Chief turned what was supposed to be an investigation into corruption and other wrongdoing in his department into an investigation into the person who blew the whistle,” states Gutwill’s complaint.

    An FBI spokeswoman would not confirm or deny an investigation and declined to comment on the matter.

    Chief Ferguson was reappointed to a new, three-year term by selectmen in June after Halpin told the board the chief had set a “great tone” for the department, according to a MetroWest Daily News article at the time.

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