Dog Attack Victim Says of Springfield Police Promotion Prospect: ‘I Almost Threw Up’

SPRINGFIELD – Stacie Gumlaw, 29, and her brother Chad Gumlaw, 31, attended a public speak-out at City Hall over police promotions. Stacie Gumlaw was attacked by Officer Anthony Bedinelli’s dogs 21 years ago and her brother is credited with saving her life. Bedinelli was suspended over the incident but is up for a promotion.

SPRINGFIELD, Massachusetts – Stacie Gumlaw was among dozens of people who showed up for a public speak-out on police promotions at City Hall Tuesday evening.

While others decried the shackles of the state’s civil service system and waning confidence in the city’s police department, Gumlaw was the only one with an intensely personal story.

And actual scars.

The 12 candidates vying for five sergeant slots include former narcotics detective Gregg Bigda, whose threats during interrogations of two teenage vehicle theft suspects tainted a number of unrelated drug cases.

Twenty-one years ago, Gumlaw was an 8-year-old girl mauled by her neighbor’s Rottweilers. Her brother Chad Gumlaw, 10 at the time, threw his body over his sister to shield her from the attack.

The dogs were owned by Springfield Police Officer Anthony Bedinelli, among a dozen officers up for promotion to sergeant after passing a recent civil service exam.

Bedinelli abruptly left his post as a dispatcher in 1997 after hearing calls about the dog attack. Audio tapes of the incident show Bedinelli interfered with the police response while he raced to secure his dogs, which were later put down. He was suspended for six months over a litany of infractions related to the incident, including neglect of duty and “conduct injurious to the public peace or welfare.”

Still suffering from anxiety and bearing scars of dog bites on her torso, legs, arms and head, Stacie Gumlaw, now 29, is of the mindset that Bedinelli is not worthy of a promotion even 20 years on.

“It’s the most disgusting, disturbing thing. I almost threw up when I saw it,” she said, referring to news of Bedinelli’s potential promotion.

“I still remember every moment of that day,” she said, adding that although Bedinelli remained her neighbor for years, he never apologized.

The attack occurred Feb. 28, 1997, a date still fresh in the mind of Stacie Gumlaw and those of friends and family who also attended Tuesday’s hearing.

The Republican earlier this month published a story about 12 officers — several with dubious disciplinary histories — poised for promotion to five open sergeant positions. Bedinelli made the list despite the 1997 suspension and another after a bar fight at the Ale House in 2006. He was fired for that, then rehired and awarded back pay after an appeal.

Current and former Springfield police officials are still at odds over who owns the blame for the mishandling of two high-profile police involved cases.

Aside from Bedinelli, other prospects include officers Gregg Bigda, notorious for terrorizing two teen suspects on video; Anthony Cicero, central to the ongoing Nathan Bill’s bar fight controversy; and Derek Cook, once arrested for pummeling two supervisors during roll call at the police station.

City Councilor Justin Hurst, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, called a special subcommittee meeting Tuesday to question Police Commissioner John Barbieri about the promotion process. The hearing included a public speak-out, which Barbieri declined to attend lest it affect his impartiality.

During the first part of Tuesday’s hearing — attended by councilors Hurst, Adam Gomez, Jesse Lederman, Timothy Ryan, Kateri Walsh and Timothy Allen — Barbieri presented information about civil service testing and the selection process.

Any officer who has more than three years as an officer is eligible to take the test. Barbieri said he, as the ultimate appointing authority, consults his deputy chiefs and takes into consideration inordinate sick time, suspensions and prospects’ performances in interviews in the event of a tie.

Even those who score high on the test can be bypassed, but that is subject to appeal to the civil service commission, Barbieri said.

While higher-ups consider “serious discipline” when mulling promotions, Barbieri said he struggles with the notion that past mistakes should remain an albatross around officers’ necks indefinitely.

For full story visit: http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2018/02/dog_attack_victim_from_1997_sa.html#incart_2box#incart_m-rpt-2

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5620 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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