Probe: Officer in Swastika Incident Didn’t Commit Hate Crime

MARBLEHEAD, Mass. (AP) -

A former Marblehead police officer who allegedly carved a swastika into the paint of another officer’s personal car in July 2019 did not commit a hate crime, according to an administrative review.

The officer, Timothy Tufts, was placed on administrative leave after the incident came to light in 2020. He later resigned.

An administrative probe of the incident found Tufts committed felony vandalism, but said his actions did not qualify as a hate crime under Massachusetts law, according to the Boston Globe. The review was conducted by Terence Delehanty, police chief and interim town manager in Winthrop and owner of the firm Law Enforcement Applications and Development Strategies.

“The incident is an unfortunate chapter in our police department’s history, and it’s one that we must collectively work to understand and address,” Marblehead Police Chief Dennis King and Town Administrator Jason Silva said in a statement.

The alleged incident unfolded when one officer placed a crushed can underneath the windshield wiper of Tuft’s car outside of the Marblehead police station.

Tufts then used the can to scratch a swastika into that officer’s personal car, according to the review, which was released last week.

Members of the town’s governing board said at the time of Tufts’ resignation that his behavior “in no way reflects the values of the department.”

“We were deeply disappointed to learn of this incident, which is a direct contradiction of the spirit of inclusion we hold dear in our community,” the board said.