REVEALED: How a complaint about a Massachusetts trooper who yelled ‘don’t you speak English?’ to an Asian motorist led the prosecution of TEN cops for committing overtime fraud
- New report reveals origins of Massachusetts State Police overtime investigation
- A total of 10 troopers were charged either in state or federal court in the probe
- Was launched after woman complained about traffic stop in October 2016
- Asian woman complained after state trooper yelled ‘Don’t you speak English?’
- But investigators noted that her citation was dated one day after the stop
- Revelation led to discovery of web of fraudulent paperwork to scam overtime
An Asian motorist’s complaint about an alleged racist remark has been revealed as the origin of the probe that uncovered a massive state police overtime scheme in Massachusetts.
The probe that resulted in a total of 10 Massachusetts State Police troopers facing charges either in state or federal court stemmed from a traffic stop in October 2016, the Boston Globe reported.
A motorist, named by the Globe only as Debbie, was driving through the Ted Williams Tunnel when a state trooper appeared in front of her waving his arms for her to pull over.
‘Do you not speak English?’ the trooper yelled according to the woman, who is Asian and has a medical degree from Harvard.
An Asian motorist, named only as Debbie, was driving through the Ted Williams Tunnel when a state trooper waved for her to pull over and shouted ‘Don’t you speak English?’
‘Don’t you speak English?’ the trooper yelled again, according to the woman.
A second trooper at the scene wrote her a citation for driving 10 miles over the speed limit and she drove away.
Then in January 2017, the woman filed a complaint with the state police, accusing the trooper who yelled at her of racism.
Debbie was surprised when a State Police investigator called her, but seemed entirely focused on her mention that the citation had been dated a day after the day she was actually pulled over.
‘They weren’t really interested in hearing about my complaint, but they were very interested in things like the time’ on the ticket, she said.
Debbie never heard back from the State Police about her ticket, but the thread when tugged led to the unraveling of a vast scheme.
The two officers involved in Debbie’s incident were identified as Michael Casamassima, who confronted her, and Eric Chin, who wrote the ticket.
Chin was among the highest paid troopers in the state at the time, collecting more than $302,000 in 2016 — including $131,650 in overtime.
The officers involved in Debbie’s stop were named as Michael Casamassima (left), who was never accused of overtime fraud, and Eric Chin (right) who pleaded guilty to embezzlement
The post-dated ticket led to an investigation of Chin’s paperwork, and in December 2018, he pleaded guilty in federal court to an embezzlement charge related to overtime fraud.
He was sentenced to a year of supervised release and ordered to pay more than $7,000 in restitution, and fired without pension.
Chin filed a discrimination complaint claiming he was unfairly disciplined because he was Asian, but later withdrew the complaint.
Casamassima, the trooper who yelled at Debbie, was never charged or otherwise accused of involvement with the overtime fraud.
However, the department upheld the complaint of ‘verbal abuse’ against him, and he retired in 2017.
The overtime fraud investigation eventually ensnared a third of the troopers in Troop E, and the unit was disbanded in the spring of 2018.