Boston police captain pleads not guilty in domestic violence case
QUINCY — A Boston police captain stood silently in Quincy District Court on Friday and listened as his wife of 13 years told a judge that the veteran officer repeatedly pushed her and then struck her with an open palm Thursday afternoon during an altercation at their home.
The wife of Captain Timothy Connolly also said he warned her previously that he’d kill her if she told friends about their marital problems.
The lengthy testimony of Connolly’s spouse, patent attorney Phuong Bui, came during the police captain’s arraignment on two counts of assault and battery on a household or family member, stemming from Thursday’s incident at their home in Milton.
A not-guilty plea was entered for Connolly, 53, who wore a protective boot on his left foot from a prior injury.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh, speaking with reporters Friday at an unrelated event in Boston, said authorities were dealing with the Connolly investigation as well as a separate probe into a city police officer who had his gun stolen by two women after a night at a Rhode Island strip club.
“I don’t have all of the information yet on either one of those so I can’t speak to the incidents there,” Walsh said. “But certainly we hold our officers to a higher standard, and in particular our captains and our leadership of our police department, [to] a higher standard. It’s unacceptable.”
Back in Quincy outside the courthouse, Jack McGlone, a lawyer for Connolly, told reporters he felt the incident involving his client was “a tit for tat” and a “foolish fight.”
“Did he threaten to kill her? No,” McGlone said. “They’ve been together for 13 years. Read between the lines.”
The couple plans to divorce, he said, adding that Bui requested the separation. So Connolly obtained the papers, and now “she’s upset about it,” McGlone said.
Judge Mark S. Coven released Connolly on personal recognizance with orders that he stay away from Bui, who was granted a one-year restraining order against her husband. She provided testimony to explain why she wanted the order.
Speaking in a clear, confident voice, Bui said the couple argued in their vehicle Wednesday night as they were headed to a party. Connolly put the interior light on to read mail while she was driving, and she asked him to turn it off, prompting a sharp exchange, Bui testified.
During the argument, she said, “There were so many F-bombs in his sentences, I’m not even sure what he was trying to say.”
Bui said the argument escalated back at their home.
Connolly hid her phone and wallet, which she located, but then Bui, who works for the federal government, discovered her employment ID was missing, she testified. Connolly claimed he didn’t have her ID, she said, so she took his phone and badge, telling him, “If I can’t work tomorrow, you can’t either.”
Bui spent the night at the couple’s vacation home on the Cape, where she found items that led her to believe Connolly was having an affair, court records show.
On Thursday, she returned to the couple’s Milton residence with a mutual friend of theirs, and Connolly shoved her repeatedly as she packed to leave, she said. Bui testified that at one point, Connolly blocked her path, so she pressed a laundry basket against his groin in an effort to move him, and he just “stood there and laughed at me.”
In addition, Bui testified, Connolly said multiple times that he was “gonna blow” unless she told him where his work items were. And while they were in the kitchen, Bui said, he struck her in the back of the head.
“It wasn’t hard,” she said. “It was open palm.” However, she added, she still told him, “You hit me, you crossed the line.”
She said Connolly responded, as if he were testifying in court, “I did not lay a hand on that lady.” A police report quoted Connolly as telling their friend, “Khang, you’re the witness, you didn’t see anything. I didn’t hit her.”
The friend told police he didn’t see the altercation but that Bui said to him, “He hit me,” court records show.
Bui testified Friday that Connolly told her, “No one will believe you. . . . There’s no witnesses.”
“Tim is very infamous for retaliating,” Bui testified, adding that Connolly has warned her in the past to “be careful” about trying to harm his reputation.
McGlone, during questioning of Bui, asked whether she told their friend that she kicked Connolly in the groin, and she replied, “No.” McGlone also noted that Bui made no mention of any death threats in her eight-page restraining order affidavit.
An incident report filed in the case by Milton police Officer Matthew Mercer said he responded to a call for a “domestic in progress” around 3:13 p.m. Thursday. He was told the suspect was “an officer” leaving the scene in an unmarked cruiser, Mercer wrote.
He said he quickly spotted Connolly’s unmarked police cruiser on a nearby street and pulled it over.
Connolly, Mercer wrote, denied touching or assaulting his wife. Connolly alleged his wife had “struck him twice in the stomach and once in the groin” and kicked his “previously injured left leg,” the filing said.
Connolly also claimed his wife said she would “call 911 and say he punched her,” Mercer wrote.
Boston police Sergeant Detective John Boyle, a department spokesman, said Friday that Connolly has been assigned to administrative desk duty pending an investigation into the case.
Connolly formerly served as commander of Area C-11, which covers Dorchester and parts of Mattapan. He currently works at police headquarters, and is assigned to the department’s bureau of field services.
The Globe reported in April 2017, shortly after Connolly he took command of C-11, that he had been using an app to share information with business owners about robberies and break-ins and to provide suspect photos and descriptions.
His next court date is scheduled for April 19.
Material from Globe Archives was used in this report. Danny McDonald and Matt Stout of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.