Boston Cop Found Guilty of Assaulting Uber Driver

Michael Colin Doherty

A jury today convicted a Boston police officer of three counts of assault and battery on an Uber driver and of taking the man’s car without his permission during an alleged drunken, off-duty dust-up three years ago that Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley called “a slap in the face” to his honorable brethren in blue.

Michael Colin Doherty, 43, who has been suspended from the force without pay since his arrest for the incident in South Boston, is scheduled to be sentenced April 17 by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Linda E. Giles.

The cop’s victim, longtime Uber driver Luis Blanco, 31, testified last week that he gave a seemingly drunken Doherty a lift from the North End to South Boston the morning of Jan. 4, 2015, but when they reached their destination, Doherty jumped him from the back seat during a profane and racial outburst and later took off with his car.

A second Uber driver who stopped to help Blanco, Guilliano Verna, 32, testified at Doherty’s three-day trial that Doherty told him, “ ‘Get the (expletive) out of here,(racial slur). Do you know where you’re at? This is South Boston’ “ before the two men scuffled on the pavement.

The jury acquitted Doherty of violating Verna’s civil rights; however, one of his three assault and battery convictions was connected to intimidation for his use of racial and ethnic slurs against Blanco, and for jumping into and driving Blanco’s Toyota Prius for several blocks without his authority.

Doherty initially fled the scene at East 1st Street and Farragut Road, but later surrendered to police, prosecutors said.

“The defendant’s conduct that night was reprehensible,” Conley said in a statement today. “His words and actions have no place in civilized society. They represented a crime against the victims, who were doing nothing more than trying to work for a living, and they were a slap in the face to countless police officers who work hard every day to earn the community’s trust with honor and professionalism. Racially motivated violence by anyone, sworn or civilian, will be investigated and prosecuted, and no one should ever be afraid to report it.”

Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans said, “Today’s decision sends a strong and definitive message that police officers are not above the law and must answer for their actions should they choose to behave in a way that places the public in danger, whether they are on duty or off. As I have said before, I hold my officers to a very high standard, and I believe any actions that undermine the public’s trust should have appropriate consequences.”

Public payroll records show Doherty earned more than $78,000 in 2014 — his last full year on the force.