Detective in botched attack case demoted

August 9, 2013
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By Peter Shanley and John Ruch/Gazette Staff

Jerome Hall-Brewster, the Boston Police Department (BPD) officer accused of failing to properly investigate a September 2012 Mission Hill attack on a woman, has been stripped of his detective ranking, according to a BPD Internal Affairs (IA) document.

The suspect in the Mission Hill attack, Edwin Alemany, has been charged with last month’s gruesome murder of South Boston resident Amy Lord. Alemany has not been charged in the Mission Hill attack.

The Mission Hill attack happened early on the morning of Sept. 28, 2012 when a woman was strangled and robbed at 226 Parker Hill Ave. She was allegedly able to grab Alemany’s ID during the attack. But Hall-Brewster, who was a detective at the District B-2 Police Station, failed to “properly conduct an investigation and move a case forward for potential prosecution,” according to the IA document.

BPD never widely publicized the attack, though it did mention it during a Mission Hill Crime Committee meeting, according to Dave Welch, a member of that organization. He said that no details were given besides that an attack had occurred on Parker Hill Avenue.

An investigation that includes looking into the lack of publicity of the Mission Hill attack is continuing, according BPD.

“If it is as stated in the paper, it’s extremely sloppy work by the police department,” Welch said about the investigation into the Mission Hill atack.

According to a police report provided to the Gazette by BPD, the victim of the Mission Hill attack said she was attacked from behind while walking home and strangled by a man who stole her purse. She said she fell to the ground and grabbed an unknown object before she was knocked out. When she regained consciousness, she found that she “had a wallet not belonging to her with an Identification Card” and personal papers, the report says. She was able to provide a partial description of the suspect as a “medium skinned male” about 6 feet tall and wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and dark pants.

BPD Commissioner Ed Davis said during a televised press conference that despite having Alemany’s ID, Hall-Brewster decided he was not a “strong suspect” and that there was no probable cause to arrest him. Davis also said that the detective also could not locate Alemany.

“Looking back now on that incident, it’s clear Mr. Alemany is a strong suspect,” Davis said, and that the detective actually did have probable cause to arrest him.

BPD spokesperson Cheryl Fiandaca said that the “entire matter is under review by the department,” including why the Mission Hill attacked was not publicized more.

“Internal Affairs is continuing its investigation,” she said. “Further action could be taken.”

Hall-Brewster’s IA history also includes a 2001 sustained charge for failing to properly report non-lethal use of force and charges in 2011 that were sustained, though no discipline has yet been determined. He had seven other complaints that “did not result in findings of misconduct,” according to the document.

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