Amanda was murdered in her downtown Chicopee apartment in August 2011. An ABC40 investigation revealed last week that Mayor Michael Bissonnette knew about the incident at least a year before he told Amanda’s family and the public about it.
Last week, Mayor Bissonnette denied knowing of the photos taken of Amanda’s body until the summer of 2012, “If in fact this had been brought to my attention at the outset I think the results would have been a little bit different.”
That’s what Bissonnette told us last week about the investigation.
“The department issued letters of reprimand internally,” Bissonnette said, “Now the way the process works, Brendan, is that unless a suspension is imposed the mayor isn’t notified.”
Exclusive details now show otherwise. On April 19th, 2012, Bissonnette was sent a letter by former Police Chief John Ferraro, notifying the mayor that the officer who snapped the photos was given three extra, unpaid shifts, essentially a working suspension, as punishment for his actions.
“He knew about it and now I’ve got people over there saying ‘I knew nothing about this’, that’s not true,’” Regional Supervisor of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers Robert Dickson said.
Dickson says Chicopee Police Internal Affairs investigator, Deputy Chief Bill Jebb recommended that the officer who took the photos be fired.
“He thought it was bad taste to look at the photos like that or show those around but then three or four different reports come in and they all contradict each other so he says how can we put this guy on the witness stand,” Dickson said.
But Chief Ferraro didn’t take the recommendation. The letter to the mayor officially notified Bissonnette, human resources, and the police officer of his decision. The union says the mayor can’t reopen closed cases, whether it’s the Amanda Plasse photos case or 40 internal issues an outside investigator is reviewing.
“It’s double jeopardy,” Dickson said. “And we said that if you’re going to start this investigation, we are going to fight you all the way on this. These people have been punished.”
Bissonnette said last week some officers could be facing possible termination. We tried to ask him this week why he didn’t step in to issue a more stringent punishment in the Amanda Plasse photo case when he had the chance, but the mayor had no comment.
Last week Bissonnette said he expected the 40 case investigation, including the Amanda Plasse photo probe, to wrap up within a few weeks and the results of which will be shared with the public.
Amanda’s murder has not been solved yet. State Police and Chicopee detectives are continuing their investigation. If you have any information, call Chicopee detectives at 413-594-1730.