BOSTON (CBS) — A jury found a Boston police officer guilty of a racially-motivated assault on an Uber driver Monday.
Forty-three-year-old Michael Doherty, a 16-year veteran of the police force, was accused of attacking 28-year-old Luis Blanco while Blanco drove him home on January 4, 2015.
He was convicted of two counts of assault and battery, one count of assault and battery for intimidation purposes “reflecting his use of racial and ethnic slurs during the confrontation,” and one count of using a vehicle without authority, District attorney Daniel F. Conley announced in a statement. He was acquitted on a civil rights violation charge.
Prosecutors argued Doherty took an Uber from Charleston to South Boston, and used a racial epithet when he told Blanco that they were at the wrong location. Doherty then hit Blanco and chased after him when Blanco got out of the car.
They continued to say Doherty drove Blanco’s car away but stopped and assaulted Blanco again, who had followed him in another car that had stopped to help.
Blanco testified in court last Wednesday saying, he had had enough when Doherty screamed another racial slur. “I threw a punch and we landed on the ground and started wrestling, it was a scuffle,” Blanco said. Doherty then ran away but police caught up with him.
Following the conviction, Conley said, “[Doherty’s] 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.”
Doherty had been suspended without pay following his indictment.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 17.