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Boston police superintendent leaves force to takeover Ann Arbor, Mich., police department

Boston Police Superintendent Michael A. Cox Sr., who rose through the ranks after being beaten by fellow officers who mistook him for a black shooting suspect in 1995, is leaving to take command of the Ann Arbor Police Department, officials said.

Cox’s final post with the department he joined 30 years ago as superintendent of the Bureau of Professional Development where the key responsibility is overseeing the department’s police academy along with in-service training for officers.

William Gross, the current commissioner, promoted Cox to the superintendent’s post last August. And under Gross’ predecessors, Cox has been a member of the department’s command staff before then for some 13 years, having joined the department in 1989.

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He was also a member of the gang unit, a sergeant detective and a supervisor in the Internal Affairs Department, among other assignments.

Cox was one of three finalists for the job in the Michigan city that hosts the University of Michigan which his son attended and played on the famed football team between 2008 and 2011, according to records.

He was nominated for the job by the city manager, and was approved by the City Council this week. He is scheduled to take command on July 15.

“I’m excited to begin this new chapter in my career in a city as vibrant and engaging as Ann Arbor; and I welcome the opportunity to work with such an exceptional department,” Cox said in a statement posted on the Ann Arbor municipal website. “By working together, I’m confident we can increase transparency with those we serve and identify service enhancements that would be a value to our community.”

Cox was in the city’s gang unit and wearing plain clothes on Jan. 25, 1995 when he joined a foot chase through Roxbury streets. As he tried to climb a fence and grab the suspect, Cox was pulled down and severely beaten by several officers who left him on the sidewalk bleeding from his injuries when they realized he was a fellow officer.

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No one was ever criminally prosecuted for beating Cox, although one officer, Kenneth Conley, was prosecuted in federal court for perjury, a case that a federal judge later thew out. Like Cox, Conley returned to the department.

The city eventually settled a civil rights claim with Cox for $1.3 million and the story of his beating and the department’s refusal to acknowledge it for years was the subject of a 2009 Boston Globe magazine article based on a book by former Globe reporter Dick Lehr.


John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.