A Braintree police lieutenant was disciplined earlier this year for his conduct during a November 2021 booking of a woman who kicked and tried to bite a fellow officer, leading the lieutenant to grab her by the hair, push her head back, and scream in her face, according to records from the Norfolk district attorney’s office.
Prosecutors provided records related to the discipline of Lieutenant Brian Eng in response to a Globe request. The incident was reported last week by The Patriot Ledger.
Police administrators reviewed video footage of the booking in early 2022 after hearing rumors about it, the records show.
The woman was being booked at the police station after being arrested on charges related to a late-night disturbance, records show. The charges were redacted in the documents.
In the video, the woman being booked “assaulted an officer,” and Eng “aggressively grabbed the prisoner and screamed in her face,” police supervisors wrote in a Feb. 2 report.
Eng, a 17-year member of the department who had no previous disciplinary history, was given an oral reprimand and ordered to attend counseling, the records show.
Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey’s office placed Eng on the so-called Brady List of officers with misconduct histories that must be disclosed to defense counsel before they testify at trial.
Kareem Morgan, a lawyer for the police union that represents Eng and other officers, had asked in a letter to prosecutors last month that Eng not be included on the Brady List, citing his previously unblemished record and deep community ties.
The prisoner being booked “became highly aggressive, agitated, and attempted to bite another officer’s hand during her booking,” Morgan wrote.
While Eng’s response was “improper,” Morgan continued, “it was completely out of character,” and he took immediate responsibility when shown the video and said it would never happen again.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher H. Meade wrote back to Morgan on Nov. 3 informing him that Eng would remain on the Brady list for now.
Meade added that defense attorneys are entitled to receive relevant information about officerson the list as part of pre-trial discovery, but that such information isn’t necessarily admissible at trial.
At one point during the 25-minute booking video, the Ledger reported, the woman being booked appears to try to bite a female officer and kicks her in the shins.
Eng can be seen running in from behind a glass partition, grabbing the woman by her hair with both hands, yanking her head back, and shouting into her face, the newspaper reported.
“If you try to bite her again, I will put you through a wall, do you understand me?” he yells. “Do you understand me? Do you understand me?”
Braintree Deputy Police Chief Timothy Cohoon wrote in the February report that before Eng’s outburst, the woman had repeatedly called the female officer a vulgar term and was being “uncooperative, obtuse, assaultive, and snide” during her “drunken tirade.”
While Eng was “unprofessional” in his response, supervisors believe the incident “was an isolated one, and not likely to occur again,” Cohoon wrote. “If this behavior occurs again, he will be progressively disciplined.”
Braintree police reiterated that stance Monday in a statement to the Globe.
“The Braintree Police Department unequivocally condemns the actions of the officer in this incident,” the statement said, adding that Eng “responded emotionally after the suspect repeatedly verbally and physically abused the booking officers and attempted to bite one of the officers twice. The 25-minute-long video depicts the suspect’s hostile, abusive and uncooperative nature after being arrested for suspicion of a violent crime.”
Police officials said a number of steps were taken in response to the incident.
They included sending Eng for 40 hours of retraining, including de-escalation training; holding a staff meeting for supervisors in which they viewed the video and were reminded about the importance of de-escalation; and briefing all department officers on the incident, officials said.
“This incident serves as an important reminder that police officers, while rightly held to a high standard of professional conduct, are still human,” police said. “With that, it is incumbent on us to make sure that they have access to necessary support services and the time available to take advantage of those resources. This is especially important given the often unpredictable, and far too often violent, nature of their work.”