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Controversial Springfield police officer Gregg Bigda charged with drunken driving, suspended without pay

2016 interrogation video reveals Springfield Police' Gregg Bigda making threats to teens
2016 interrogation video shows Gregg Bigda threatening to plant drugs on teens, crush one’s skull and take him out in the parking lot and kill him.

Springfield Police Detective Gregg A. Bigda, who has been suspended from the force since 2018 after repeated accusations that he abused his authority, was arrested in Palmer Sunday and charged with drunk driving, according to court records.

Bigda allegedly failed four standard tests used by police to justify an arrest for operating under the influence of alcohol, Palmer Police Detective Michael K. Ciafolo wrote in a report filed in court. Bigda’s lawyer declined to comment on Tuesday.

He was also cited for a marked lanes violation and had his driver’s license suspended for refusing to take a breath alcohol test, police said.


Bigda was arraigned in Palmer District Court on Monday, where he was released on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty to operating under the influence and negligent operation of a vehicle, records show.

After his arrest, Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood suspended Bigda without pay for five days, a department spokesman said by email on Tuesday. It’s the highest level of discipline Clapprood can impose, the spokesman said.

Springfield officials have been trying to fire Bigda, whose alleged abuses have cost the city at least $979,500 in payments to plaintiffs between 2013 and 2023, the Globe reported last month.

Bigda was suspended with pay when federal prosecutors accused him of violating the civil rights of two Latino teenagers, a case that contributed to the Justice Department’s decision to open an investigation into the department’s narcotics unit.

During a videotaped interrogation in 2016, Bigda threatened to crush one teenager’s skull, according to court records. Although a jury saw the video of the interview, the panel voted to acquit him of all charges in 2021. Bigda has sued the city for damages, including back pay, funds lost from hypothetical lost overtime, and private detail pay.

Springfield officials have said they could not fire Bigda under longstanding disciplinary procedures that include binding arbitration. Bigda’s arrest is now under investigation by the city’s Board of Police Commissioners, an oversight panel.


City officials want the state’s Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Commission, a regulatory agency created in response to the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, to revoke Bigda’s certification that is now required to serve as a police officer in Massachusetts.

According to police in Palmer, a civilian called the department shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday and reported what appeared to be a white Infiniti parked in the street near the intersection of Three Rivers Road and Springfield Street.

While Ciafolo was driving to that location, he saw a white Infiniti on Springfield Street and began to follow it, the report stated. When the driver struggled to keep the car within the right lane, Ciafolo pulled him over, the report said.

Ciafolo turned on his body camera, and as he approached the car, the operator opened the sunroof even though temperatures were in the 50s and it was foggy out, the report said.

Ciafolo said the odor of alcohol drifted from the car and when he asked Bigda for his driver’s license, Bigda gave him his vaccination card. When Ciafolo asked for his registration, Bigda handed him an inspection report, police said.

Bigda said he was coming from Wilbraham where he had some drinks with a friend. After Bigda failed the sobriety tests, he was taken into custody, police said.


Travis Andersen of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.

John R. Ellement can be reached at Follow him @JREbosglobe.