The Massachusetts state trooper who fired his gun in a police confrontation with a group of ATV riders over the weekend has a history of posting racist and profanity-laced comments, The Boston Globe revealed.
Trooper Matthew Sheehan has been sharing the offensive comments on a website called MassCops for some time, including some espousing support for cops who shoot suspects.
“Note to [expletive] scumbags!” Sheehan wrote using the screen name “Big Irish,” in a July 2012 post referencing an incident in Worcester in which a trooper fatally shot a man who allegedly drove at him with his car. “You try and run us over and you will die!!! Good shoot ALL DAY LONG!!!!!!!”
The Globe was able to confirm it was Sheehan who authored the posts, thanks to nuggets of biographical information (his birthday, hometown, work history, etc.) he left on the site. In one post, the trooper mentioned taking a Globe reporter for a ride-along, during which he was photographed for the story, the newspaper reported.
In another 2012 posting, Sheehan argued there was “no reason” an officer should ask a person more than once to drop their weapon before opening fire. On other occasions, he griped about criminals, namely people of color, using demeaning language such as “dead beats,” “baby’s momma’s,” “EBT-receiving” and even “crack smoking.”
An official with knowledge of the incident, who didn’t wish to be identified, said State Police found the shocking posts on Sheehan’s work computer. It should be noted that Sheehan was at the center of five internal affairs complaints between 2011 and 2016.
“The tone and nature of these posts are repugnant and clearly do not reflect the values, ideals and opinions of the Massachusetts State Police,” State Police spokesperson David Procopio said, noting that the department has launched an “immediate investigation into the posts. ”
“When the investigation is completed, the department will take further action as warranted by the results,” he added.
Sheehan has been on paid administrative leave since Saturday, Feb. 24, when he fired his rifle as state troopers and Boston police tried to stop a large group of dirt bike and ATV riders who were weaving in and out of traffic near the exit ramp of I-93 South, according to the Globe. Some of the riders were also traveling in the wrong direction, authorities said.
ATV driver Aderito Monteiro, 28, was shot in the foot during the mayhem.
According to a State Police report, Monteiro was spinning and “doing doughnuts” in the middle of the road and reportedly drove toward a trooper and Boston K9 police officer. Both the trooper and officer ordered Monteiro to the ground, to which he complied. He would later complain about his foot being injured, the report stated.
Monteiro, who’s of Cape Verdean descent, has since been arraigned on charges including failure to stop for police, negligent motor vehicle operation and having an uninsured ATV. As for Sheehan, Procopio said the department has planned a status hearing for Friday, March 2, to determine if the trooper should be placed under a different status, such as suspension without pay or restricted duty, pending the investigation, the Globe stated.
Sheehan has been a State Trooper since 2005.