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City worker was put on leave after altercation outside his Dorchester home

A city employee was put on paid leave for five days in June, Boston officials confirmed, following allegations that he attacked a man outside his Dorchester home.

Stephen Bickerton Jr., an assistant director in the Public Facilities Department, and his accuser, Christopher Dahl, appeared Friday in a closed-door hearing in Dorchester District Court.

The hearing — in which both men presented their account of the altercation — was held to determine if there is probable cause for Dahl to proceed with his complaint. Dahl alleges that Bickerton attacked him and called him an offensive name, according to an incident report.

Bickerton — through his attorney, James F. Kelley of Acucity Law LLC — has denied the allegations.


The matter stems from a June 7 altercation that began around 1:30 a.m. outside Bickerton’s home. Dahl, in a report to police and an interview with the Globe, said he and his boyfriend were walking to the boyfriend’s home when Bickerton ran out of his house yelling and screaming.

Two police officers who responded to the altercation reported that Bickerton told them that he and his girlfriend were awakened to the sound of two men screaming at each other outside Bickerton’s window, the police incident report said.

Bickerton said “he asked them to move along, but they started threatening him,” the report said.

He told police that he came outside to confront the two men, pushed one of them during an argument, and saw him slip on the sidewalk, the report said.

Dahl said he told the officers at the scene that when Bickerton came out to confront them, Bickerton screamed and threatened the two men. Dahl said Bickerton punched him in the face before returning inside, according to the police report.

Dahl told the Globe that Bickerton was holding a golf club, and “he smashed it on the left side of my face,’’ injuring his lip.


In the police report, Bickerton stated “he did not threaten the men with a golf club,’’ and officers said they saw no visible injuries on any of the men. Bickerton’s lawyer said his client also did not use the club to attack Dahl.

Police Lieutenant Detective Michael McCarthy said Boston detectives, the Civil Rights Unit, and the police’s anticorruption division, which probes criminal cases involving city employees, investigated the allegations.

The hearing Friday was to determine if a charge of simple assault and battery, a misdemeanor, should be filed against Bickerton. The clerk magistrate continued the hearing until August “to allow more testimony,’’ Magistrate Anthony Owens said.

Bickerton declined to comment to a reporter at court.

Meghan E. Irons can be reached at meghan.irons@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons.

Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this story misstated the name of the Public Facilities Department.