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BPD officer under investigation in Jan. 6 insurrection is now living in N.H. and protesting vaccine mandates in Boston

BPD Officer Joe Abasciano ( center) protested with opponents of the City of Boston’s vaccine mandate in front of the State House on Jan. 5.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Milton, N.H., is a place where passersby wave to one another, the firefighters are volunteers, and neighbors are welcoming yet give one another space, residents say. One of their newest neighbors, Joe Abasciano, lives there with his family on a 20-acre horse farm on a road that turns to dirt as it climbs a mountain.

It’s nearly 100 miles away from Abasciano’s job as a Boston police officer. He is on paid medical leave from the force and remains under investigation by the department for his involvement in the insurrection at the US Capitol and for attacking former Vice President Mike Pence on Twitter.

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Abasciano, 45, is a retired Marine and Iraq veteran known for his affiliation with Back the Blue events across Massachusetts and through his now deleted @mailboxjoe Twitter account, which posted #stopthesteal election commentary. In West Roxbury, where Abasciano previously lived, he was a member of the neighborhood’s Republican Ward Committee, which pushed a pro-Trump platform.

He hasn’t exactly been keeping a low profile since he relocated to New Hampshire.

In early January, he was photographed at an anti-vaccine rally at the Massachusetts State House. He followed that up with a visit to the union hall of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association that was captured on video and shared on social media.

In the video, posted Jan. 13 by the group We The People of MA, Abasciano peers through the glass, knocks, and attempts to open the door at the union hall. A small band of protesters chants, “Let the member in.”

“A BPD Officer attempts to enter the Union Hall to file a grievance regarding vaccine mandate matters,” the tweet said. Union officials declined to comment.

Abasciano could not be reached for comment.

Property records show that Abasciano moved to Touchtone Farm in May and is the part owner of a 5,350-square-foot, five-bedroom house on the property.

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“They were a really nice, young family. They seemed excited to move to the country,” said one resident of the town of 4,500, who did not want her name used. She said she met Abasciano, his wife, their two young children, and his in-laws when they moved to town.

Police spokesman Sergeant Detective John Boyle declined to say whether Abasciano, a 14-year veteran of the department, is in violation of a city policy that requires officers to live in Boston.

Abasciano may be eligible to live outside the jurisdiction under a grandfather clause that allows officers who have been with the department a decade or longer to do so. But Boyle said he was still trying to confirm whether that 10-year exception applied to out-of-state residency.

Boyle confirmed that the Jan. 6 investigation remains open. He did not specify when it might conclude.

Boyle also confirmed that Abasciano remains out due to a medical incapacitation and is still receiving his salary. Abasciano augmented his 2020 base salary of $96,890 with overtime and other earnings to make $138,559, according to police records.

Abasciano went on medical leave 20 days after the Jan. 6 insurrection.

It has been more than a year since he came under internal investigation as Twitter user @mailboxjoe, a self-described “beer drinking, Marine Vet, constitutional conservative who believes in peace through strength.” On the day of the Capitol riot, @mailboxjoe posted photos of the DC crowd and called it a “day for choosing.”

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He also taunted Pence, accusing him of treason and calling him an ungodly man, over false claims that Pence could overturn President Joe Biden’s election victory.

“I hope you never sleep well again,” @mailboxjoe tweeted. “[Y]our Treasonous Act lead [sic] to the murder of an innocent girl and the death of America.”

Abasciano was awarded the police department’s Medal of Honor for his role in a 2013 arrest of a suspect with a loaded firearm after a chase and struggle.

He has been the subject of four citizen complaints that led to internal investigations for neglect of duty, use of force, unreasonable judgment, and abuse of process, records show. Each time, Abasciano was exonerated or the charge was not sustained.


Tonya Alanez can be reached at tonya.alanez@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @talanez.