Photographer covering rally allegedly assaulted by police
MASSACHUSETTS — A Bay State Banner photographer is still waiting for the results of an internal investigation by Boston City Police into charges she filed in mid-August against an officer who allegedly assaulted her at a rally while she was taking photos for the Dorchester newspaper. The police investigators were supposed to respond to her charges by mid-November.
Julia Cheng filed charges against Officer Joseph M. Donovan on August 17 because the previous day she said he hit her in the face and swore at her as she was photographing a civil disobedience action at the Boston Coast Guard station of protestors opposed to U.S. policy in Haiti.
Cheng said she was standing in front of a police van to take pictures of protestors when Donovan walked over to her and hit her just below her glasses and said, “You f — -ing moron, get out of here.”
Although she did not require medical treatment, Cheng said she was upset because she was just doing her job. “This was totally inappropriate,” she said.
Several witnesses said they saw the assault, including State Rep. Byron Rushing and Jennifer Wofford, U.S. Senator Harris Wofford’s niece, who told the Banner that Donovan “seemed really to have an attitude.”
Cheng said several protestors also filed complaints with the police department against Donovan and corroborated her story, but Supt. Ann Marie Doherty of the Boston police internal affairs division, told the Banner she did not know of any other complaints filed against him in the past two years. “He is not someone who fits the pattern,” she said.
Cheng said she gave her deposition to two Boston City Police investigators in mid- August who said she would have the results within 90 days.
She said she spoke informally with Sgt. Paul Donovan (no relation to officer Donovan) in mid-November who told her he was planning to recommend that the charges not be sustained. Cheng said the investigation report would probably not be filed until late November, but Donovan had said that he could get no one to say they saw the officer hit Cheng.
“I only wish he had hit me harder so I could have something to show,” Cheng said. She said her only option now is to make the incident as public as possible and hope the investigator changes his decision.