Former sergeant’s charge against Jemison dismissed

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Eugene Jemison standing during his court appearance Thursday. — Rich Saltzberg

A 2020 charge brought by former Tisbury Police Sgt. Jeff Day against Eugene Jemison, a local Black Lives Matter activist, was dismissed in Edgartown District Court Thursday morning.

The charge stemmed from an incident outside the U.S. Post Office in Vineyard Haven, where Sgt. Day allegedly told Jemison to move a vehicle despite knowledge Jemison had a license suspension stemming from an OUI charge brought by the Tisbury Police Department. After Jemison did as directed, records show Day pulled him over and charged him with operating with a suspended license.

The driving under suspension charge and the OUI charge have been the subject of suppression motions by Jemison’s attorney, Ryan Searle, including a Brady rule motion. However, it doesn’t appear to have been disclosed in open court if Day was the target of the motion. 

Police reports and internal investigation material previously obtained by The Times show Day was accused of untruthfulness by Tisbury Police Chief Dan Hanavan in connection with a pistol Day allegedly stole when he had worked for the Chilmark Police Department. Meanwhile, Tisbury Police Chief Mark Saloio found Day had falsely arrested a man. Reports and other material show Day felt he had a positive observational ID of a man who had an outstanding warrant. He felt that, reports show, because he recognized the way the man walked. It was the wrong man. Compounding the false arrest, per reports, were Day’s failure to ask the arrestee who he was, or check his ID. Also, the man was arrested wearing sunglasses and a cowboy hat.

Day was placed on “nondisciplinary” paid administrative leave on Feb. 18 for reasons that haven’t been disclosed. Day later resigned. His last day of employment was May 6. 

On Thursday, Cape and Islands Assistant District Attorney Matt Palazzolo moved to dismiss the charge shortly after the case was called. Palozzolo gave little explanation other than to note the case dated from 2020 and Jemison hasn’t incurred any charges since then. Searle didn’t object. Judge Benjamin Barnes subsequently dismissed the charge. 

Jemison still faces an OUI charge. That matter is slated for September. 

Tara Miltimore, a spokesperson for Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, had no immediate comment. Jemison couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Day didn’t immediately respond to a voice message seeking comment.

When asked if he was surprised by the dismissal, Tisbury Police Chief Chris Habekost said, “I’m not surprised about that. It’s a common occurrence on such a minor charge.”

9 COMMENTS

  1. “I’m not surprised about that. It’s a common occurrence on such a minor charge.”????
    Let me fix that for you, Habekost.
    “Its a common occurrence when I have larcenous, incompetent officers on the payroll.”

  2. When the time arrives, these incompetent officers will be the first ones on scene to help EVEN YOU and you will be glad they came to assist. PERIOD. QUIT being such a drain on society, say something positive, I DARE YOU!

  3. Robert J. Muzik. If you read this article you’ll see there are many positive takeaways. A man was entrapped and he was vindicated. That is huge. A dishonest cop has been removed to ensure integrity in this towns police force. So if they are the first ones on the scene you can hope that they are truthful and helpful going forward, not just trying to make an arrest. Many positives to take from this

  4. And they allowed Jeff to resign once on island so he could keep his dignity and retirement plan and get rehired. Please fire poor policemen for poor policing. Chilmark and Tisbury cough cough…. I hope the truth comes out about these off island men that move to the island with power trips. He’s on paid leave right. Wonder what is was this time. Choffi got a youth lot in Chilmark and allowed to resign twice in West Tisbury and Chilmark. Pretty sad.

    • And the only person to stand up at the town hall meeting in Chilmark and bring up choffi’s history in west tis was Donald P. Everyone else was mute and allowed him to be hired and given a youth lot. Cough cough.

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