Two Massachusetts cops were arrested October 31 on excessive force charges related to the 2016 arrest of a group of teens who had been arrested for allegedly stealing a police vehicle.
It all began with a late-night pizza run at around 10:20 p.m. on Feb. 26, 2016.
Springfield police officer Steven Vigneault drove his unmarked Chevy TrailBlazer to a pizzeria to grab food for the narcotics squad.
But Vigneault left the car unlocked and running.
When he stepped out, his undercover police vehicle had been swiped.
The alleged perpetrators, a group of teens, took a four-hour joyride until police laid a spike strip in the road, stopping the undercover TrailBlazer.
Four young suspects jumped out, fleeing through a wooded area as police as police dogs chased them.
Eventually, the boys were bitten by police K-9s, kicked in the face while handcuffed by officer Vigneault and his partner officer Gregg Bigda, according to a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday.
After kicking him face, Bigda ended the attack by spitting on a 14-year-old Hispanic suspect.
“Welcome to the white man’s world,” Bigda, who is white, told one of the teen’s during his arrest as he spit in the kid’s face.
Later that night, Bigda’s subsequent interrogation of one of the minor children was captured on a surveillance camera.
Video shows Bigda threatening to kill two boys, ages 15 and 16 during an interrogation.
“You know I’ll beat the fuck out of you when you get to Springfield, right?”
He also threatens to plant drugs on them if they didn’t reveal who was driving the undercover TrailBlazer.
“I’m not hampered by the f–king truth ’cause I don’t give a f–k! People like you belong in jail. I’ll charge you with whatever. I’ll stick a f–king kilo of coke in your pocket and put you away for 15 years,” he screams at the kid.
“I could crush your fucking skull and fucking get away with it,” he says during another segment.
An excessive force lawsuit filed in federal court by one of the teen’s accuses Bigda of being drunk on rum.
And that’s why Vigneault picked up pizza: with hopes of sobering him up, according to the lawsuit.
Two civilians verified the claim that Bigda had been drinking rum that night at his desk before the incident, according to the Boston Globe.
Vigneault and Bigna were both arrested by federal authorities Wednesday for deprivation of rights under the color of law and excessive force.
In addition to excessive force charges, Bigda was charged with abusive interrogation and filing false police reports that claimed he did not witness any beatings by police during the teens’ arrest.
Bigda also faces a charges of abusive interrogation for how he handled interrogating the teens once they were jailed.
He denied spitting on anyone or making the “white man’s world” comment.
Federal authorities found the interrogation “so abusive it shocks the conscience,” according to his indictment.
Video of the interrogation and beating prompted a civil rights abuses investigation by the Justice Department, which would make it the first Massachusetts police department to come under investigation by the DOJ, according to the Boston Globe.
One of the 14-year-old boys was hospitalized with a fractured nose, two black eyes and bruising to his head, a federal lawsuit alleges.
Both Bigda and Negneault pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday and were released on bail.
Previously, Bigda was also accused of assaulting a pregnant woman, saying “I hate Puerto Ricans,” and macing puppies to death, according to MassLive.com.