D’Amelio Released on $75K Bail

Joseph D’Amelio, the MIT Police Officer arrested for drug trafficking on Sat., March 14, has been released on $75,000 bail. He is under house arrest with electronic monitoring, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s spokesman Jake Wark.

D’Amelio’s attorney, Kimberly Foster, maintains his innocence.

His bail was reduced from $500,000 to $75,000 at a bail reduction hearing last week Monday.

D’Amelio’s next court appearance is in April, Foster said.

D’Amelio was previously arraigned in Sept. 2006 in Malden District Court and was found not guilty by a judge in a bench trial in Jan. 2007, according to Middlesex DA spokeswoman Jessica Venezia.

According to court documents obtained by The Tech, D’Amelio was accused of threatening a pawn shop owner. According to the shop owner’s complaint, D’Amelio was attempting to obtain property stolen from him. D’Amelio and an unidentified friend drove to the pawn shop in a hearse, and D’Amelio allegedly told the owner to return his property or “I will beat you with a fucking bat and get you into the back of the hearse.”

A police officer’s report claims that a retired Boston police detective witnessed the threats. The report indicates that MIT was performing an internal investigation of the incident, and D’Amelio’s defense witness list included two MIT Police officers. It is not clear if these officers were ever called to testify.

Venezia said, “We presented our case and believed there was sufficient evidence to garner a guilty finding. We must respect the judge’s finding of not-guilty.”

The Institute has announced plans to form a review panel to examine the ramifications of the D’Amelio incident.

Vice President for Institute Affairs Kirk D. Kolenbrander said in an interview on Friday that the “policies and procedures for our campus police are silent on off-duty behavior. We would anticipate that this will be an area which the review panel will find appropriate to address.” Kolenbrander clarified that being “silent” means that MIT does not currently feel it appropriate to consider off-duty activities in evaluating officer performance.

Kolenbrander also said, “We believe our Campus Police force expects its members to exhibit outstanding character and integrity — and we agree with that expectation. Anything less is not police service worthy of MIT.”

In addition to being an MIT Police officer, D’Amelio opened a seafood restaurant in East Boston called Off The Boat last year, The Boston Globe reported.

Paper theft incident

The MIT administration refused yesterday to confirm whether the two officers suspended last week Wednesday had been reinstated. The officers were suspended without pay for removing copies of The Tech from distribution stands in the Student Center on Tue, March 17.

The Tech’s chairman, Austin Chu G, said in a statement, “The Tech is dismayed at the incident involving our March 17 papers, but we have been encouraged by the response that we have received from the MIT Police, Chief DiFava, and the MIT administration.”

Tech Executive Editor Michael McGraw-Herdeg G told The Boston Globe, “I don’t think the police should be fired for this. In this economy, there are no career prospects for a campus police officer fired for violating students’ First Amendment rights.”

Nick Semenkovich contributed to the reporting of this article. An earlier version of this article ran on-line on The Tech’s website on Thursday, March 26.