Springfield's Bad Cops; 160 Acres Saved

In Springfield, a police detective is being paid $70,000 a year by taxpayers, despite allegations that he beat people up without a good reason. Gregg Bigda has been on desk duty, or outright suspended, for 14 months. Among the alleged victims of his brutality were Latino teenagers and Bigda's former girlfriend. City taxpayers paid $500,000 in legal settlements to people in cases related to Bigda.

Representative Carlos Gonzalez represents part of Springfield in the state legislature. In a voice phone interview about Bigda on January 19, Gonzalez told the Valley Post, “It's disheartening to see that he hasn't been fired. We need to wait for POST to do their process." POST is the state's Peace Officer Standards and Training commission. “Eighteen police offices have been decertified so far under this new (state) law,” Gonzalez said.

Charles Stokes is an activist in Springfield. City Councilor Justin Hurst told MassLive in 2022, “I think Charles (Stokes) has value in our community. I think for the most part, for as long as I’ve known him, he’s been on the side of right and he’s not afraid to speak his mind.”

Juanita Batchelor started a group that has a web site at https://springfieldjustice.org. In 2022, she told MassLive, Stokes "has credibility on the streets.”

In a voice phone interview on January 17, 2023, Stokes told the Valley Post, “The Bigda case is an example of systemic racism. Springfield taxpayers have spent $5 million on police misconduct settlements. The Springfield police board is a charade led by (mayor) Domenic Sarno. The federal government needs to clean up the Springfield police department.”

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Williamsburg, Massachusetts borders Northampton. On January 12, two land trusts announced they had permanently protected 20 acres of forestland in Williamsburg from development. The land trusts have web sites at www.HilltownLandTrust.org and www.KestrelTrust.org.

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Putney, Vermont borders Dummerston, Vermont, which borders Brattleboro. On January 2, two land trusts announced they had permanently protected 140 acres of forestland in Putney from development. The land trusts have web sites at www.PutneyMountain.org and www.vlt.org.

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