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3/6/2016

Medford Police report, video dispute Stephen LeBert's account of traffic stop - Gate House

By Alex Ruppenthal
aruppenthal@wickedlocal.com

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October 21. 2015 12:00PM

MedfordPolicereport,videodisputeStephenLeBert'saccountoftrafficstop
Former Medford Police Detective Stephen LeBert said he threatened to shoot a motorist late July 26 in Medford
Square because he feared the driver was going to run him over, according to a transcript from his Aug. 20 interview
with the departments internal investigators.
During his interview, LeBert told Medford Police Lt. Joseph Casey and Capt. Kevin Faller that he remembered
threatening to blow a hole through the head of the driver, Malden resident Michael Coates.
I was afraid he was gonna run me over and I just started thats what came out of my mouth, LeBert said, according
to the interview transcript. Ive been run over three times. I thought he was gonna kill me. He had me in the middle of
Medford Police Officer Stephen LeBerts
the street and thats what I yelled.

statement regarding the July 26 incident


with a motorist, contradict internal
investigation, video. Wicked Local Photo
He continued coming forward and I started to, to close on him just to shorten the distance so I had a its, its were Illustration/KirkR.Williamson

LeBert said he acted to protect himself as Coates vehicle moved toward him.

trained to go towards the threat so you shorten the distance so he couldnt get to me, he said.

LeBert resigned Oct. 13, two days prior to his scheduled Oct. 15 disciplinary hearing, which was to be open to the public, but was then canceled.
At about 10:20 p.m. on July 26, LeBert was recorded on video threatening to blow a hole through the head of a motorist, Coates, 26, who had driven the
wrong way around the rotary at Winthrop Circle.
The next morning, a video recording from Coates dashboard camera went viral, and Medford Police Chief Leo A. Sacco Jr. placed LeBert on paid
administrative leave pending the result of the departments Internal Affairs investigation.
According to a release from Mayor Michael J. McGlynns office announcing LeBerts resignation, the former detectives payroll status was changed to
administrative leave without pay while his retirement paperwork was being processed. LeBert had been on paid administrative leave since July 27.
LeBerts attorney, Kenneth H. Anderson, said he expected LeBert to receive his full pension from the city.
As part of his resignation, LeBert, 52, is not eligible to return to the department at any time, said City Solicitor Mark Rumley.
There is an irrevocable covenant that he will not come back to work for the city of Medford Police Department, Rumley said.
A 39-page report of Medford Polices internal investigation said LeBert committed four violations of the departments Rules and Regulations, including failure
to notify a supervisor of an off-duty incident, conduct injurious to the public peace and conduct unbecoming of an officer.
According to a copy of the report, obtained from the citys Law Department, LeBert was en route to his Woburn home late July 26 after having dinner at a
friends house on Charnwood Road, from about 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
LeBert said he consumed two 12-ounce Michelob Ultra beers while at the house, which he said had no impact or effect on him. According to polices interview
with LeBerts friend who hosted the dinner, LeBert also made another drink but after tasting it, he poured it out.
The friend said LeBert was not intoxicated and described LeBert as being in a good mood. He was not angry or upset about anything, although he appeared to
be tired.
Each of the three Medford Police officers who responded to the scene Christopher Coughlin, Lawrence Crowley and Harold MacGilvray said they did not
detect any odor or signs of alcohol while interacting with LeBert, according to the report.
LeBert said when he approached Winthrop Circle, he noticed Coates vehicle driving at a high rate of speed causing vehicles that were entering the rotary to
come to an abrupt stop. This vehicle caused me to swerve to the right turning down High Street.
But a full video recording of the incident shows Coates vehicle was not close to colliding with any other vehicle, and Coates brought his vehicle to a nearcomplete stop after noticing he had driven the wrong way around the rotary.
In the report, Casey wrote, In the video the motor vehicles traveling within the rotary do not make an abrupt stop.
Additionally, the video, a copy of which was obtained from the citys Law Department, shows no sign of Coates vehicle driving toward LeBerts pickup truck.
When asked why he chose to follow Coates rather than notify Medford Police, LeBert, who was off-duty, said although his cell phone was with him, it had
fallen into a side console in his truck.

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3/6/2016

Medford Police report, video dispute Stephen LeBert's account of traffic stop - Gate House

Coates, who was also interviewed by police, said LeBert followed him from Winthrop Circle to Medford Square, first flashing his high-beam headlights toward
Coates vehicle, and then leaving the lights on.
Asked if kept his high-beam headlights on, LeBert said, I dont know if they got stuck. I was flicking them. I dont now if it stayed on or not.
LeBert said he tried to sound his horn at Coates to stop his vehicle, fearing that [Coates] may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But LeBert said his
horn does not work properly, and that it sounds like a seal.
In the report, Casey wrote there is no reason to suspect Coates was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as the video did not show any further
erratic or reckless operation after exiting the rotary.
The report also found Coates driving speed does not appear to be excessive, contrary to LeBerts observation.
LeBert said during the incident, he was carrying his own .38 special revolver in the right-side pocket of his cargo shorts. LeBert also said he had his right hand
on the gun when he approached Coates vehicle on High Street.
LeBert said he remembered telling Coates that he was a f****** Medford detective and that youre lucky Im a cop because Id be beating the f***** piss out
of you right now.
LeBert told investigators he made the statements because, I was upset about him driving at me. I was nervous. I was afraid. I was still afraid that he attempted
to run me over. As I stated Ive been hospitalized from being run over.
MacGilvray declined to comment about LeBerts resignation.
Sacco could not be reached for comment prior to the TranscriptsTuesday print deadline.

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