Brittany's Beat: Time for the death penalty for cop killers in Mass

How many more police officers need to be murdered before something is done about career criminals? It’s time for the death penalty here in Massachusetts.

Weymouth police officer Michael Chesna, a six-year veteran of the force, was killed in the line of duty early Sunday morning. According to the Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey, Weymouth police were responding to a call for an erratic driver. Police discovered a crashed BMW, and Officer Chesna was looking to locate the driver.

Officer Chesna found the suspect vandalizing a home nearby. Then the suspect, Manny Lopes, turned on Officer Chesna. Lopes struck Officer Chesna in the head with a large rock. The officer fell to the ground, and Lopes took Officer Chesna’s gun and repeatedly shot him execution-style.

Lopes didn’t only take the life of Officer Chesna, he shot and killed 77-year-old Weymouth resident, Vera Adams. She was having morning coffee in her kitchen when she was innocently gunned down by this thug.

So, here we are again: three months after Yarmouth Officer Sean Gannon was killed in the line of duty, now it is Officer Chesna’s turn.

Officer Chesna was a 42-year-old Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran, who leaves behind a wife and two young children—ages 4 and 9. He survived wars in the Middle East, but not the streets of Weymouth. 

Weymouth Police Chief Richard Grimes described Officer Chesna as a great cop and family man. "He always had a kind word and a good attitude ... we very much appreciated his service to the Weymouth Police Department."

This all could have been prevented. How? If Lopes was in jail—where he belongs. Lopes was out on $500 pre-trial bail after he was arrested in October 2017 on charges of selling cocaine to minors and resisting arrest.

Also, in September of 2017, Lopes was arrested for allegedly throwing a rock at a home. He was charged with property damage and released on pre-trial probation.

When Lopes was released the judge told him to remain drug and alcohol-free. Yet, Lopes failed to show up for a random drug screening on Feb. 7. In other words, he never should’ve been out on the streets when he allegedly killed Officer Chesna and Adams.

Again, a dangerous thug was allowed to prey upon innocent victims here in Massachusetts because of an arrogant, out-of-control judge. He was put back on the streets by Judge Jeanmarie Carroll. She was appointed by former Governor Deval Patrick in 2014.

There is something fundamentally wrong with Massachusetts’ criminal justice system. Our police are being slaughtered on our streets. And it is slowly becoming an epidemic.

Too many officers are being killed because of liberal judges being too lenient toward career criminals. Here are a few examples:

In 2010, Officer John “Jack” Maguire of Woburn was shot and killed by Dominic Cinelli, who was out on probation.

In 2016, Officer Rob Tarentino of the Auburn Police Department was shot in the back and killed by a career criminal named Jorge Zambrano.

Three months ago, Officer Gannon was killed by Thomas Latanowich who was also a career criminal. He had over 100 charges to his name.

This is sickening. It’s time to stop putting the rights of criminals over those of hardworking, law-abiding citizens and dedicated police officers.

According to The Sun Chronicle, Judge Carroll ruled that Cristofer Veloz, 20, of Attleboro, who was accused of assaulting a police officer and commandeering his cruiser in 2017 before crashing it, was “not a danger” to society. She set bail at $7,500 and said her decision did “not minimize how serious this incident is.”

Judge Carroll should be ashamed of herself. In any other profession—doctors, nurses, engineers, firefighters, lawyers—when someone makes a tragic mistake they are held accountable. Why are there no consequences for irresponsible judges?

When will our lawmakers realize they are not protecting us and they are putting Massachusetts residents and officers in harm’s way? 

I wrote this when we lost Officer Gannon: “Our Massachusetts legislators need to make a change before another police officer is killed in the line of duty.” They didn’t.

Enough is enough. Our state constitution needs to be amended so that cop killers get what they deserve: the death penalty.

Gov. Charlie Baker ordered flags to half-staff on Monday following Officer Chesna’s death. Sorry, Charlie, but that’s not good enough.

Baker says he supports the death penalty for “people who kill police officers.” Talk is cheap. It’s time for us—the people, the taxpayers, the voters—to demand that our lawmakers finally put justice and public safety ahead of the interests of murderers and thugs.

Officer Chesna’s life is worth that much. Isn’t it?


-Brittany Jennings is the Executive Producer of The Kuhner Report on WRKO. Follow her on Twitter @Brittany_J10.


Brittany Jennings


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