Boston Police captain issued 3-day suspension for handling of protests, fight

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A Boston Police captain has been suspended for three days after an internal investigation found violations connected to his conduct in two protests and the “physical contact” he made with a man who had alleged excessive force.

A department investigation determined that Capt. John Danilecki neglected his duty, used poor judgment and failed to complete required police reports for these incidents, but did not use improper force, as alleged in at least one case.

“The commissioner has signed off on the findings and the discipline of a three-day suspension has been imposed,” Boston Police spokesperson Mariellen Burns told the Herald in a Tuesday email.

The BPD Internal Affairs Division sustained a neglect of duty violation, for failing to complete a required incident report, but dismissed five other counts including a use of non-lethal force violation reported by Dorchester resident David Nave in 2019.

Nave said Danilecki grabbed and pulled him down to the ground, and pinned him there with a knee to his chest while he was speaking with the neighborhood “kids” who had allegedly stolen his son’s phone, according to federal court documents.

Internal Affairs did not sustain another violation charging Danilecki with untruthfulness in his police report, nor did it find that he violated department rules around respectful treatment and unreasonable judgment.

Danilecki stated in a police report at the time that Nave was acting aggressively, and he had put him on the ground for his own safety, according to prior media reports. His required reporting on the incident was incomplete, however, resulting in the sustained violation.

“Captain Danilecki failed to complete a required department report or a FIOE report after activating himself in a fight he had observed and making physical contact with the complainant,” the Internal Affairs violation states.

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The internal investigation also sustained two other violations connected to a 2020 Black Lives Matter protest and a 2019 “Straight Pride Parade.” Danilecki was reported to have torn up a protestor’s sign during the 2020 demonstration and released pepper spray on people protesting the parade a year earlier.

Video also depicts Danilecki pushing and grabbing protesters, and attempting to rip the mask off of one, at the Straight Pride Parade, according to footage shared as part of a prior Boston Globe report.

“During a protest Captain Danilecki used poor judgment when he seized and destroyed an item without inspecting its evidentiary value,” the violation states, referring to the 2020 incident. “The item was a cardboard sign belonging to one of the demonstrators and not contraband as he thought.”

For the earlier case, Danilecki “failed to complete a required FIOE report when he used force while having an interaction with the complainant who was attending the Straight Pride Parade,” the violation states.

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