Pro-Life Activist Arrested, Beaten by Police

Peter D'Attilio 

Pro-life activist Peter D’Attilio [Photo via MassResistance.org]

As he was passing out pro-life bookmarks (see here) at the St. Rocco Family Festival on the grounds of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Franklin, Massachusetts on August 11, pro-life activist Peter D’Attilio was approached by two police officers.

After one of the officers, Patrolman Robert Burchill, asked him what he was doing, he asked to see D’Attilio’s identification. D’Attilio says he responded by asking why he wanted to see his ID, to which Burchill responded that he “needed to know who he was dealing with”.

D’Attilio claims that Officer Burchill then told him he was on private property owned by the church, at which point D’Attilio claims he offered to leave voluntarily, but then Burchill told him not to leave.

Handcuffed, Choked, and Punched by Police Officer

D’Attilio says he then told Burchill he was illegally detaining him, and that the officer tried to put his hand in D’Attilio’s back pocket to grab his wallet. At that point, D’Attilio was handcuffed, and shortly thereafter, he claims Burchill started choking him, and then punched him in the face, giving him a black eye.

After being charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, D’Attilio was taken to the police station, where he says he told the booking officer — one Sgt. Manocchio — “many times” about the assault, even showing the sergeant his swelling eye, but was ignored.

D’Attilio then claims that Sgt. Manocchio asked him multiple times if he had planted a bomb at the carnival, claiming, “You guys are known for that sort of thing.”

After he was released from jail, D’Attilio found that his truck had been broken into: “The door was left wide open, everything was moved around as if it had been thoroughly searched … and there was a pair of plastic gloves on the hood of my vehicle.”

Three days later, D’Attilio says he returned to the police station and informed one Lt. Ryan that he wanted to file a breaking and entering report regarding his truck. The lieutenant said he wouldn’t be able to, but he acknowledged that D’Attilio’s truck had been searched. D’Attilio says he then told Lt. Ryan that he wanted a picture taken of his black eye as evidence to be used in the investigation, but the lieutenant refused.

Numerous Disagreements with Police Report

It would be an understatement to say that it’s shocking to read Peter D’Attilio’s allegations of his treatment at the hands of police officers.

What I’ve written here is merely a synopsis of events, but I would encourage you to read D’Attilio’s full account of events here.  I would also recommend reading the full text of the police report, along with D’Attilio’s comments regarding same. As you’ll notice, there are numerous instances in which his account of how things happened is very different.

Our attorneys at the Thomas More Society Pro-Life Law Center are working to obtain legal representation for D’Attilio for his next court appearance on Wednesday, September 28. Needless to say, please keep him in your prayers that justice will be served in his case.

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