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We found a second coverup of a Boston police detective’s alleged crimes. Here’s what officials had to say

Boston Police Commissioner William Gross and Mayor Martin J. Walsh briefed reporters outside City Hall in July about a recent spate of violence in the city.
Boston Police Commissioner William Gross and Mayor Martin J. Walsh briefed reporters outside City Hall in July about a recent spate of violence in the city.Nicolaus Czarnecki

The Boston Police Department helped cover up for Detective Robert Tully when he drunkenly crashed his department car in Rockland in 2013 and hurt a nurse so badly she spent four days in the ICU, according to a Globe investigation published last month.

Now, new documents obtained by the Globe show it was not the first time police stepped in to protect Tully. MBTA Transit Police and Boston police covered up his alleged drunk driving in a department vehicle four years earlier.

Tully faced no sobriety test. No criminal charges. No internal affairs investigation. And documents related to the case were sealed by Transit police. Read more in this new Globe investigation.


In reporting this latest story, the Globe again asked public officials, police, and prosecutors to respond. Here’s what they said.

MBTA Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green

“The incident as alleged is very concerning. Transit Police officers who may have been present or otherwise have information thereof are no longer employed with the TPD. As a result of that we are greatly inhibited from conducting a complete and thorough investigation into this matter. Nonetheless I have instructed my Superintendent to review this incident and report back to me with his findings. Transit Police officers are expected to treat all citizens with the same discretion and fairness regardless of one’s status or position.”

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins

“If true, this is outrageous. Any other person would certainly be arrested if they appeared drunk, were driving recklessly, non-compliant and belligerent with law enforcement, or the individual likely urinated on themselves. Why was there no field sobriety test done? Why were there no steps taken to prove intoxication? Why are police officers allowed to be above the law? Because it is other police officers that make the decision as to whether or not they get arrested. Too often the police use their discretion to protect their own, when as public servants sworn to protect us all, they should be held to the most rigorous review. As members of law enforcement, we cannot stand in judgment of others when we act with unclean hands.


“It is almost beyond belief that Boston Police allegedly knew about this 2009 incident with Detective Tully and did nothing. But even more insulting and infuriating is that in 2013, in yet another driving episode, Detective Tully’s BPD issued vehicle crossed the center line and he seriously injured a woman. The 2013 drunk driving crash was the second time in four years that a Boston Police officer had to go to a South Shore community to retrieve Detective Tully, his BPD issued firearm, and his BPD issued vehicle. That evening, when he should have been being charged with OUI and potentially other felonies, he was never even arrested. That simply would not happen to a regular person with no ties to law enforcement. Detective Tully was then allowed to retire in 2014 with his pension fully intact. Boston Police Internal Affairs contends that it began an investigation into his 2013 actions two years later and among other things ultimately found his behavior was “not in conformance to laws”. Query, whether that finding by BPD was ever forwarded to the Plymouth County DA’s Office. And if so, what happened? I can tell you that in Suffolk County, in my administration, it would be prosecuted.”


Boston Police Commissioner William Gross

“Creating trust in our communities and keeping them safe is our first priority, and I hold our officers to the highest standards. Every person, regardless of their job, must be treated the same under the law. The alleged actions of Mr. Tully do not represent the Boston Police Department, and are unacceptable and unbecoming of an individual whose duty is to protect and serve. I have instructed the Boston Police Bureau of Professional Standards to open an investigation into this 2009 incident. I remain committed to upholding the standards and level of trust our communities expect and deserve from their public safety officials.”

Mayor Martin J. Walsh released the same statement he had weeks earlier

“Any misconduct in the Boston Police Department is wholly unacceptable. The people of Boston deserve to be served by city employees, including police officers, who exhibit the highest levels of integrity, accountability, and good conduct. That is the standard to which I hold myself, and every public servant in my administration. Any officer who breaks the law and breaks their community’s trust must be met with swift and thorough action, including discipline and a referral to outside authorities when necessary. It should go without saying that the law must apply equally to all people. As Mayor, I will not tolerate misconduct at our police department, and am taking the action needed to enact systemic reforms to increase transparency and accountability at every level.”


Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz

“District Attorney’s Offices rely on trained police officers to make on-scene determinations of whether to issue citations and/or seek criminal complaints pursuant to the law. There are tens of thousands of motor vehicle violation investigations across the Commonwealth yearly where District Attorney’s Office are completely uninvolved. Our Office was not involved in the handling of a 2009 motor vehicle stop involving Mr. Tully. Regarding the 2013 motor vehicle crash, Rockland Police issued a marked lanes violation and Tully was cited. As no criminal complaint was sought and none issued, the DA’s Office would not have been aware of the incident at all in the ordinary course of events. There was an inquiry into this motor vehicle collision by a member of our office which occurred after a member of the victim’s family contacted our office in 2015, more than a year after the crash, and after that family member contacted the Attorney General’s Office. This was the first time our office was made aware of the incident because no criminal charges had been applied for or issued by the court, and it was not legally possible to pursue any criminal charges, or seek any hospital or medical records by this time.

Additionally, Brad Tully was briefly employed as an Assistant District Attorney in this office from February, 2010 to December, 2010, and then again from March, 2015 to May, 2015.”

Cruz’s office also released a lengthy statement in response to a records request and a series of questions about Tully. Read it here.


Retired Detective Robert Tully declined to comment.

Andrew Ryan can be reached at andrew.ryan@globe.com Follow him on Twitter @globeandrewryan. Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @evanmallen.