BOSTON — A former Boston police officer who was crushed greater than 25 years in the past by colleagues who mistook him for a capturing suspect would be the new chief of town’s police division, Mayor Michelle Wu introduced Wednesday.
Michael Cox, 57, will return to his hometown of Boston after working because the police chief in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to guide the identical drive he as soon as introduced a civil rights case towards over his beating by fellow cops. Cox, who’s Black, will take over as commissioner subsequent month.
Cox described his appointment is an “emotional second” for him, apologizing throughout a name with reporters for his voice quivering. He promised to work to diversify the police division — which critics have lengthy complained doesn’t look sufficient like town it serves — and ensure officers really feel supported of their job to guard the group.
“I feel this can be a very thrilling time. I feel the officers want somebody to help them,” Cox advised reporters Wednesday. “And I’m going to be their largest cheerleader.”
Earlier than changing into chief in Ann Arbor in 2019, Cox was a part of the Boston police drive for 30 years, the place he rose by the ranks after preventing for years to get justice over his beating that left him severely injured on the age of 29.
Cox was working undercover in plainclothes as a part of the gang unit in January 1995 when officers received a name a few capturing. Cox, wearing denims and a sweatshirt, noticed the suspect and began to chase him. The suspect began to scale a fence and Cox was struck from behind simply as he was about to seize the person, Cox mentioned. He was kicked and punched by fellow officers, struggling head accidents and kidney harm.
“It was humiliating what occurred to me,” Cox advised former Boston Globe reporter Dick Lehr for Lehr’s guide concerning the beating: “The Fence: A Police Cowl-Up Alongside Boston’s Racial Divide.”
“There’s no motive to deal with anybody like that. After which to simply depart them. And in the event that they do it to me — one other police officer — would they do it to a different individual in the event that they received away with it?” Cox mentioned.
Cox has described going through harassment in an effort to silence him after the beating grew to become public regardless of efforts by his colleagues to cowl it up. A division harm report mentioned Cox misplaced his footing on a frozen puddle, inflicting him to fall and crack his head.
Cox selected to remain within the police drive after what occurred to him and attempt to enhance issues as an alternative of strolling away from a job he beloved, he mentioned Wednesday.
“Since then in 1995, I’ve devoted my life to creating positive that each the Boston police division and policing normally has grown and realized … to be sure that we’ve constructions and mechanisms in place to be sure that we by no means repeat that type of incident towards anybody,” Cox advised reporters.
The highest prosecutor for Boston and surrounding communities, who has identified Cox for years, referred to as him “a person of excessive honor and integrity.”
“The journey of Michael Cox from being crushed by fellow Boston Cops to his appointment as Commissioner of the Boston Police Division is emblematic of prison authorized reform,” Suffolk County District Legal professional Kevin Hayden mentioned in an emailed assertion.
Cox’s tenure in Ann Arbor was marred by claims that he created a hostile work atmosphere, which led to him being briefly positioned on administrative depart in 2020.
An investigation discovered “no proof that the Chief was behaving in such a means” as to create a hostile work atmosphere. However a report mentioned “there may be proof that individuals feared retaliation by the Chief, they usually had a professional foundation for that concern, whether or not or not that was the Chief’s intent.”
He was reinstated lower than a month after being positioned on depart after being advised by town administration to apologize “for any misunderstandings and poor communications.”
The mayor mentioned the vetting course of was intense and that she personally spoke with Ann Arbor’s mayor and city administrator about Cox’s time there. These conversations confirmed that he’s a “chief of nice integrity,” Wu mentioned.
“We’re tremendously excited to convey a frontrunner of his expertise and knowledge and background to Boston on this function,” she advised reporters.
In Boston, Cox spent 15 years in quite a lot of roles within the police drive’s command employees, together with because the Bureau Chief and Superintendent of the Bureau of Skilled Growth. He oversaw the Boston Police Academy, the Firearms Coaching Unit, the Police Cadet Unit, and coaching for recruits and sworn officers.
Boston’s final commissioner — Dennis White — was fired final 12 months following a bitter battle to maintain his job after decades-old home violence accusations got here to mild.
White was positioned on depart over the allegations, which he denied, simply days into his new job. Superintendent-In-Chief Gregory Lengthy has been serving because the performing police commissioner throughout the seek for White’s everlasting successor.
Story by Alanna Durkin Richer.