A former Boston police detective has pleaded guilty to obstructing an FBI investigation.
Brian Smigielski of Norton, Massachusetts, was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the government during a federal investigation. In addition to a fine of $5,000, Smigielski was sentenced to one year of probation by the Department of Justice.
From 2009 to 2011, a joint investigation between the FBI and the Boston Police Department had been established to investigate the Academy Homes Street Gang, a violent narcotics trafficking gang that operated from the Academy Homes housing development in Roxy, Boston.
Smigielski, who was originally the lead investigator, was upset that the case was turned over to the FBI and other units within the police department, according to the Department of Justice. In January 2010, Smigielski and Officer Mel Steele met with Owens Brown and Lamar Axell at a bar in order to warn them that Brown was being investigated by federal agents.
According to The Boston Globe, federal records show that Brown and Smigielski had a 12-minute conversation in December 2010. In January 2011, Brown asked a few police officers if they knew a “Steele” or “Smiddy” during a traffic stop.
“Within days after the car stop, Brown met with Smigielski to inquire about the car stop,” according to federal records, as reported by Mass Live. “During this meeting in Eggleston Square, Smigielski informed Brown that based upon his experience, it was likely that Brown was being physically identified by law enforcement in preparation for Brown's imminent arrest.”
Within a month, Brown was arrested.
According to Attorney Edward McNelley, the former detective received no compensation in return for his imprudence. Smigielski lost his job, pension, and disability pay. He had won various awards as a police officer and had been injured in the line of duty three times.
“Obviously, there’s a court record, and it speaks for itself,” said McNelley, as reported by The Boston Globe. “I’d just say he was a good policeman, that’s all. He was a great policeman, a great detective.”
Friends and co-workers described Smigielski as a devoted father and officer.
“I can tell Brian regrets whatever decision he had made at that time and is paying for it dearly while living it each day,” wrote a woman who volunteered with Smigielski.