Tisbury Police Sgt. Jeff Day is on paid administrative leave from the department. Tisbury town administrator Jay Grande, who is also the town’s personnel director, has declined to say why Day is on leave.
In an interview with The Times on April 13, Grande said Day has been on “non-disciplinary” paid administrative leave since Feb. 18. Grande said he’s not at liberty to disclose any details of Day’s leave because it stems from a personnel matter. The decision to place Day on administrative leave, Grande said, was made jointly between himself and Tisbury Police Chief Chris Habekost. The Times spoke with Chief Habekost in the Tisbury School gym just after the 2022 annual town meeting and inquired if any officers were on leave. Chief Habekost said one was on leave but declined to name the officer. He said only the personnel director can answer that question.
Day didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment. Grande said he expects Day will return to work at the police department. While the reason for Day’s leave remains unknown, Day has a record of serious disciplinary infractions during his time at the department. An internal investigation report alleged he stole a handgun while he was a Chilmark Police officer after a citizen turned it in for disposal and that he later lied to his superiors in Tisbury about that situation. Police reports and other records show Day falsely arrested the wrong person because he believed the way the man walked was similar to somebody else with an outstanding warrant. Records also show he never asked for identification and apparently sent the arrestee off to the Dukes County Jail in sunglasses and a cowboy hat — personal articles he allegedly never asked the arrestee to remove for better identification.
Day is presently caught up in a case in Edgartown District Court involving Eugene Jemison. With the apparent knowledge Jemison had a suspended license, Day allegedly told Jemison to move a car from the Vineyard Haven Post Office area and then allegedly pulled him over for operating with a suspended license once he moved the vehicle. In addition to seeking a large body of records from the Tisbury Police Department, Jemison’s lawyer, Ryan Searle, has filed a motion to suppress evidence on behalf of Jemison and another client, Josuel Desouza. The motion seeks to apply the so-called Brady rule or Brady-Giglio rule.
“The Brady Rule, named after Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), requires prosecutors to disclose materially exculpatory evidence in the government’s possession to the defense,” online material from Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute states. “Brady material” or evidence the prosecutor is required to disclose under this rule includes any evidence favorable to the accused — evidence that goes toward negating a defendant’s guilt, that would reduce a defendant’s potential sentence, or evidence going to the credibility of a witness.”
It’s unclear if Day is the subject of the motion, however, as the Tisbury officer the motion is targeting hasn’t been disclosed in court.
The testimonial credibility of officers can be undermined if they are found to have Brady rule liability.