Updated April 30
A Dukes County corrections officer whose license to carry was denied by Edgartown Police appealed that decision Friday in Edgartown District Court before Judge James McGovern.
Jeremy Colon, who is employed as a corrections officer at Dukes County Jail, had applied for a Class A license to carry. Judge McGovern handed down a decision later that day denying Colon’s appeal. The decision was brief, and did not contain an opinion.
In a letter sent to Colon, Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee wrote the denial was based on Colon untruthfully completing an application, and because he was deemed “unsuitable” because of police incidents in New York and an incident surrounding a restraining order.
Colon, in his letter of appeal, wrote the two police incidents in the chief’s letter “did not yield convictions,” and furthermore they weren’t on record, but “in the interest of full transparency on the application,” he disclosed them. Colon also wrote that “due to a confusion in verbiage, I was unintentionally untruthful” on the question surrounding the restraining order. New York calls that an “order of protection,” he wrote.
Sgt. Joel DeRoche, who represented Edgartown at the hearing, testified that background checks on Colon came back negative. When he was asked to produce reports based on his answers on the application, he “indicated [Yonkers Police] were either unable or unwilling to provide those documents,” DeRoche said.
The Edgartown Police Department obtained the reports and denied the application based on “suitability,” DeRoche said.
At the request of McGovern, DeRoche detailed what was in the report surrounding a 2013 domestic incident. DeRoche said upon arrival, police were told by Colon’s wife that “Mr. Colon became enraged and punched her in the nose, causing it to bleed and swell. Police spoke with Mr. Colon, who indicated that he accidentally struck the victim in the nose.”
The woman was treated for a “nasal fracture,” according to the report.
“So, nasal fracture. In Providence we refer to it as a broken nose,” Judge McGovern said.
DeRoche also testified about a text message exchange that allegedly violated the protective order, and contained “disturbing language.”
In one message, DeRoche said, “Mr. Colon had responded ‘(expletive) you I hope you choke on a (expletive) knife you dumb (expletive)’.”
There was no evidence Colon was arrested in that incident, DeRoche said.
Colon testified in his own defense. “I just wanted to say my relationship with the mother of my child, she is my ex-wife, was a very toxic relationship,” he said. “She was 10 years older than I am, and at the time I was 24, she was 34, 35.”
Colon told McGovern his wife feared he might leave. “It was very difficult for her and I to get along after our child was born because there were thoughts of me running out of the house and running out of the relationship,” he said. “I also wanted to say I was never convicted for anything I was arrested for.”
When McGovern asked for clarity on how Colon’s cases were resolved, he said in one incident she “she refused to show up” and the case was dismissed, and in the second incident Colon said he was found not guilty.
“I feel like there isn’t anything federally withholding me from obtaining the LTC,” he said.
When the judge asked him why he wanted a permit, Colon said, “I feel like I should be able to have the opportunity to defend my family just like anyone else.”
Colon does have use of a firearm at work, he testified.
McGovern took the matter under advisement.
Asked Friday afternoon if any red flags showed up on Colon’s application, Dukes County Sheriff Robert Ogden said none had, that his background checks were clean. He said he believed it was indeed confusion about nomenclature that caused Colon to answer no instead of yes on the restraining order question on his application with the Edgartown Police. Ogden said when and if Colon uses a firearm, it’s to guard prisoners in transit, but primarily he is an unarmed corrections officer, as opposed to a sheriff’s deputy. Any firearm he would use in such a capacity would be department-issued, and returned at the end of the shift, he said.
Sheriff Ogden said Colon has been “an exemplary officer,” and his status at work remains unchanged by the permit dispute.
“I will hold judgment until the court has decided,” he said.
On Tuesday Sheriff Ogden did not immediately return calls seeking comment. An official at the Dukes County Sheriff’s Office said nobody else was available to comment on the matter.
Colon declined comment when reached by phone Tuesday.
Reached May 7, Sheriff Ogden said under the present union contract new hires are subject to a 12 month probationary period.
Updated to reflect new information provided by the Dukes County Sheriff.