By Dusty Christensen
HOLYOKE — A Holyoke Police Department sergeant has been suspended after he reportedly drew his gun and pointed it at a police cruiser driven by two fellow police officers.
Sgt. James Bartolomei began a five-day suspension on Tuesday after an internal investigation found that in September 2021 he unholstered his gun because he was upset at two detectives, according to records obtained by The Shoestring.
“Sgt. Bartolomei approached them on the passenger side of their cruiser … unholstered his weapon, aimed it at the front passenger tire and said if he ever saw them with the sunroof down again, he would shoot the front tire of the vehicle so that they wouldn’t be able to use such a beautiful car,” Capt. Manuel Reyes, who oversees internal investigations, wrote in his final report on the incident. “Through his own admission Sgt. Bartolomei expressed frustration with the conditions of the motor vehicles at the time.”
The Shoestring obtained the report via a public records request.
Bartolomei did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment late Thursday. Holyoke Police Chief David Pratt and Capt. Matthew Moriarty, who handles communications for the department, did not respond to a request for comment sent earlier this week.
In his internal affairs report, Reyes wrote that during an interview, Bartolomei said he had only gestured as though he were drawing his gun. However, both detectives — one of whom is a firearms instructor — testified that they were “100% positive” that Bartolomei drew his weapon.
The report also notes that it was Bartolomei’s first time back out on the street after “having gone through a traumatic experience where he was shot at and the bullet was lodged in his windshield.”
Because of the inconsistencies between Bartolomei’s testimony and the detectives’ memories, Reyes wrote that he asked Bartolomei whether he was misremembering and had actually pulled his weapon out. Reyes said that Bartolomei shrugged his shoulders and said it could be possible.
“He indicated that it would be so out of character for him that he didn’t think he did that and still doesn’t remember having pulled his weapon at that incident,” Reyes wrote. “But faced with the compelling evidence to the contrary he agrees that it is possible that he did.”
Reyes ultimately “sustained” — or upheld — the allegations against Barolomei.
Bartolomei has been with the Holyoke Police Department since 1997, according to his LinkedIn profile. In 2022, Bartolomei was the 17th highest paid employee in the city of Holyoke, pulling in $154,746, according to city records.
Dusty Christensen is an independent investigative reporter based in western Massachusetts. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @dustyc123.
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