The police department and the city’s human resources department are looking into an allegation that more than a dozen officers participated.
WORCESTER, MA — The city of Worcester is looking into allegations that more than a dozen police officers participated in a sick-out protest in early February after an officer was disciplined.
The Worcester City Manager’s office confirmed the joint police and human resources inquiry on Wednesday. As many as 15 officers may have taken part in the Feb. 5 protest over the five-day suspension of officer Ryan Joyal, who was filmed over the summer apparently slapping a man strapped to a stretcher.
“We are aware of an allegation that some Worcester police officers recently coordinated a ‘sick out’ following the discipline of a fellow police officer related to an earlier incident,” a city spokesperson said in a statement to Patch Wednesday. “We take these allegations seriously, and the Worcester Police Department and the city of Worcester’s Human Resources Department are conducting an investigation. We will follow this investigation where it leads and, if necessary, take the appropriate action.”
At-Large City Councilor Khrystian King has also asked city officials to report back to the Council about the potential sick-out. King said during the Feb. 9 Council meeting that he has received numerous calls from members of other local unions complaining about the police protest.
The group Defund WPD has also asked for a probe, first asking City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. to take “immediate actions” on Feb. 7.
“It is frightening that 15 police officers, the Worcester Police unions and WPD leadership feel justified in sending a message to City Hall by protesting the 5-day suspension of a police officer caught on video striking a mental health patient on a stretcher in the head,” the group said in a statement.
Worcester Sgt. Richard Cipro, president of the president of IBPO Local 540 police union, was not immediately available for comment about the city’s inquiry into the sick-out.