A Massachusetts special prosecutor will open an investigation into allegations that a Lynn police officer beat a Black Tufts University cook inside a holding cell after he refused to take off his sanitary face mask, officials said Thursday. Daniel Bennett, the former head of the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, has been tasked to investigate the allegations that Lynn Police Officer Matt Coppinger used excessive force on Victor White during a June 16 incident that is said to have been captured on video, Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a Thursday statement. Coppinger has since resigned and an internal investigation is underway. “The case never should have been brought to begin with,” said Patrick Gioia, an attorney representing White. “They are still upset about what happened and this isn’t the end of it, in some ways it could be the beginning of their quest for justice.”
Blodgett also announced he is dropping the criminal charges against White and two other men, who were arrested following a noise complaint about the 32-year-old’s home. The trio were originally accused of resisting arrest, assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct, and public drinking.