FALMOUTH â€” An Orleans police officer was officially charged with drunken driving Thursday but details about the October crash in Mashpee that led to the charge are still unavailable.
Anthony Manfredi, 32, was arraigned in Falmouth District Court on operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol causing serious bodily injury and driving to endanger.Manfredi allegedly was drunk when, off-duty, he crashed his pickup truck into a tree on Oct. 8, severely injuring himself and a passenger.
But a motion by his attorney, Peter Lloyd, to suppress Manfredi’s home address has led to a delay in the release of case documents that would provide details such as police reports and blood alcohol tests.
Because Manfredi has been a police officer on the Cape for years, it’s possible someone might want his address for harmful purposes, Lloyd told the Times.
“It’s just being conservatively cautious,” Lloyd said.
The Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office agreed to “impound” the address in the court documents for the same reason, First Assistant District Attorney Michael Trudeau said. Judge Michael Creedon agreed.
But when a Times reporter requested the file shortly after Manfredi’s arraignment, an employee in the court clerk’s office said the entire file had been impounded, not just the address. No information within the file could be released, she said.
Later Thursday, a clerk’s office employee first reiterated that the file was being totally withheld at Creedon’s request, then, after checking with the judge, said the file was only being withheld until Manfredi’s address could be redacted.
The redaction, she said, could take up to three weeks.
The Times has filed a public records request for the documents.
The Mashpee Police Department does not release police reports, except to the court system, until court proceedings are finished, Police Chief Rodney Collins said.
Usually, detailed information on file at the courthouse â€” including police reports and personal information â€” is available to the public as soon as a suspect is arraigned on any criminal charge.
For example, the file on a 20-year-old East Sandwich man charged Thursday with drunken driving includes information on his employer, parents’ names, home address and even noticeable scars on his body.
Even in some cases involving a public safety officer, personal details have not been redacted.
In 2009, when then-Sandwich police Officer Dennis Byrne was arraigned on charges of assault and battery, no information about Byrne was impounded or redacted.
There is nothing available from an internal investigation by the Orleans Police Department into Manfredi’s case, either.
The investigation into the crash and Manfredi’s actions that night was begun shortly after the incident, Orleans Police Chief Jeffrey Roy said.
But the police department was notified by Lloyd that he would invoke the “Carney rule,” Roy said.
That rule is based on a landmark 1980 decision, Carney v. the city of Springfield, that gives police officers immunity from answering questions from their departments until court proceedings are completed, according to the International Brothers of Police Officers’ website, www.ibpo.org.
Massachusetts is the only state with this sort of law, the union’s website states.
“It puts us in a situation where we have to wait until the criminal proceeding is over with,” Roy said.
Manfredi is still being paid, Roy said, but has been taking accrued sick time since the crash because of injuries.
After court proceedings are complete, “if he still refuses to talk to us, to cooperate, we base our internal investigation strictly on the court proceedings and the court report,” said Roy, who attended Manfredi’s arraignment Thursday.
Whether or not Manfredi loses his driver’s license in court could also affect internal discipline because he can’t be a police officer without the ability to drive, Roy said.
“I’m not going to kick somebody to the curb just because they made a mistake “Â» but there has to be some punishment involved in this, not only in court but through the police department,” he said.