Pittsfield Police Officer Facing Charges for Off-Duty Incident
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Pittsfield Police officer was arraigned Wednesday for charges stemming from an off-duty incident that occurred on July 4, 2016.
Officer Michael McHugh, 42, an 18-year veteran of the department,had not-guilty please entered on his behalf on single counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, misleading a police officer or other person, and being a public employee making a false report.
He is accused of assaulting a 54-year-old man in Pittsfield on Indendence Day last year. It is also alleged that he generated a false report about the assault on July 6, 2016.
The investigation was conducted by members of the Pittsfield Police Department.
Superior Court Judge John Agostini released McHugh on personal recognizance on the condition that he have no contact with the alleged victim.
McHugh has been under investigation by Internal Affairs since August 2016 because allegations related to the above incident.
Subsequently, the investigation was reassigned to the Detective Bureau to conduct a criminal investigation. The criminal investigation resulted in the charges for which McHugh has been arraigned. The Internal Affairs investigation has been referred to the Appointing Authority under Civil Service requirements.
McHugh, who joined the force in 1999, remains on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the required Civil Service processes.
"Whenever the Pittsfield Police Department becomes aware of alleged misconduct by any of our members, we take those allegations very seriously. Complete and thorough investigations are conducted and when warranted, referrals are made to the appropriate criminal justice partners. Service as a police officer requires a high degree of public trust, and police officers, justifiably, are held to a higher standard," said Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn.
Pittsfield Police: No Cause For Alarm About Missing Teen Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In the past few day, the Police Department has posted on Facebook numerous requests for information regarding local missing teenagers. In the last 10 days, there have been eight juveniles reported as missing or runaway.
That, of course, triggered alarm among many fearing there was some type of outbreak of abductions or a trend. But, on Thursday, the Police Department said that isn't true.
The department had used Facebook to gather leads on several missing teens. Seeing success, it kept using Facebook to get the word out in hopes to find the other missing juveniles.
"The decision to make the recent posts was made by the investigating detectives in an effort to generate leads and based on recent success. For example, one of the missing teens was located with 24 hours of our Facebook post," wrote Capt. Jeffrey Bradford.
"The social media post reached 46,157 people and was shared 1,228 times. While the circumstances of these cases cannot be released, the information gathered by our department does not point to a specific public safety risk. Although we are always concerned when a juvenile's whereabouts is not known by their parent or legal guardian, and our detectives treat these cases seriously, the recent number of reports is not unusual or out of the ordinary for our community."
Of the eight reported missing, which police say is a normal number of reports, six have already been found and two reported on Wednesday remain missing. The department has since deleted posts regarding the missing teens who were found.
"The purpose of this press release is to inform the media and public that our department has not received any information that these teens have been victimized or that the individual reports are connected," Bradford wrote.
The department also clarified its terminology when saying a juvenile is "missing" or is a "runaway." Missing is a term used to describe individuals who have not been in contact with family or friends for an unusual amount of time and runaway is a juvenile who said he or she had no intent to return to parents or legal guardians.
"In many cases, it is not clear which category best describes a specific juveniles situation. As a result of this the words 'missing' and 'runaway' are commonly used together," Bradford wrote.
State Police Seek Information on Credit Card Fraud Suspects
Pittsfield Man Charged With Firearms Violations
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A city teen was arrested early Friday on firearms charges after dispatchers received multiple reports of shots fired in the area of Francis and Danforth avenues.
Pittsfield Police patrol officers, detectives, and anti-crime units responded to the area and encountered two individuals, one of whom was found to be in possession of a handgun.
Jason Sefton, 18, was arrested and charged with carrying a loaded firearm without a license and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card. He was arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court early Friday afternoon.
No injuries were reported, and there is no known threat to the safety of the general public as a result of this incident.
Detectives are investigating reports that a vehicle, believed to be involved in the incident, fled the area prior to the arrival of Officers. A full investigation is being conducted by the Pittsfield Police Detective Bureau.
Anyone who may have witnessed, or who may have information about this incident, is asked to contact the Pittsfield Police Department Detective Bureau at 413-448- 9705. Information can also be provided anonymously via the Detective Bureau, the Drug Tips hotline at 413-448-9708, or by texting PITTIP plus your message to TIP411 (847411).
Searchers Recover Body of Missing Pittsfield Man in State Forest
LENOX, Mass. — Investigators do not suspect foul play in the death of a missing Pittsfield man whose body was discovered Wednesday afternoon in October Mountain State Forest.
The body of 33-year-old Matthew J. Gottung was found about 3 p.m. Wednesday approximately 50 yards off Switchback Trail. The location of the body was not far from where Gottung's vehicle was discovered Monday.
Those involved in the search included members of the Lee and Lenox Police and Fire departments, Berkshire Mountain Search & Rescue, state environmental police, Berkshire County sheriff's office, state police from the Lee barracks and assigned to the Berkshire district attorney's office.
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