Cop or drug dealer?

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  November 9, 2006

Area E — “Echo” in BPD radio parlance — was also well known for the racial divide within its ranks: it was dubbed “Echo Plantation.” Police relations with the public were strained, too. In the early ‘90s, civilians were fatally shot by police in Egleston Square, at Bromley-Heath, outside a Jamaica Plain store, and in Hyde Park; all were ruled justified.

In the wake of the 1996 Acerra-Robinson scandal, news stories reported that a wide internal investigation of Area E would ultimately bring down many more officers; it did not. Instead, many of those who had worked closely with Acerra and Robinson — some of whom, perhaps unwittingly, went on some of their phony drug raids — were placed together in District E-13 when it opened in October 1996. And they were teamed with, and assigned to mentor, a bunch of new academy graduates and cadets, including Pulido and Carrasquillo. (Carrasquillo, one of just 11 Hispanic cadets at the time, had a bad driving record that prevented him from entering the academy and becoming an officer until 1999, according to sources.) It was the dawn of “community policing,” and E-13 was to be its model, recalls William Morales, a JP community activist at the time. Young officers who grew up in the area, particularly those who spoke Spanish, were assigned there because of their knowledge of the neighborhood. Several went on to become outstanding, decorated officers.

Assigned to command them was Captain Mary Evans, who had been caught several years earlier selling old BPD police badges at a flea market; she had health problems and lasted at E-13 barely a year before returning to quiet headquarters duty. Above her, overseeing all of Area E, was Deputy Superintendent Gerard McHale, who soon was demoted all the way down to the rank of detective for allowing a variety of misconduct under his watch.

Problems continued in E-13. The shooting of Gregory Gallagher on School Street Place, in 1997, and the subsequent wrongful conviction of Stephan Cowans for it, was an early suspicious incident. Dozens of complaints and several lawsuits were filed against a number of officers, including Paul A. Joyce, Juan Seoane, Danilo Ramirez, and John McCabe.

Scandal-ridden officers who didn’t work in JP often lived there, notably BPD officer Wilbur Brittle, who was busted in 1996 for smuggling heroin from the Far East as part of an international drug ring — to which he eventually pleaded guilty. When Brittle was arrested, his daughter was going through BPD academy class with Pulido and Pizarro.

But perhaps the most troubling cop who lived in the area was Adalberto “Eddie” Bonilla. Bonilla grew up in JP, and his sister owned and ran a travel agency in Egleston Square. He was a well-known figure in the area, hanging out at New Look Autobody and spending time with E-13 officers.

He was also supplying gang members who lived in E-13’s Walnut Park neighborhood with information and assistance they used to perform armed robberies in and around JP. Bonilla was arrested in ‘98 and convicted the following year. Although Bonilla had allegedly been doing dirty deeds for years, he escaped notice until two of his gangbanging partners — one of whom would later be arrested as part of the Castlegate gang, the other charged with murder in another state — were caught in a robbery and ratted him out.

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