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Patrick disciplines officials over death



Sunday, March 23, 2014
BOSTON (ap) — State Department of Correction officials and three prison guards have been disciplined over the 2009 death of a mental health patient at Bridgewater State Hospital.

Gov. Deval Patrick announced Saturday he reprimanded Correction Commissioner Luis S. Spencer for inaction in the wake of Joshua Messier’s death, which was ruled a homicide.

The Boston Globe reports that the governor’s public safety secretary also called for the resignation of Assistant Deputy Commissioner Karen Hetherson for overruling an internal report citing two guards for misconduct.

Patrick placed three guards on paid administrative leave, saying at least two should face disciplinary proceedings for improper use of force against the handcuffed Messier. He suffered a heart attack after guards pushed his chest almost to his knees.

The third guard should be disciplined for failing to properly supervise other guards, Patrick said. “Mr. Messier’s death was tragic,” Patrick said. “When tragedies happen during this administration, I expect the responsible officials to get the facts and deal squarely with them. That did not happen here.”