A Boston police officer pleaded guilty Thursday to sending a fake $790 traffic ticket to a man following a road rage incident that happened in March 2019.
Other officers criticized 37-year-old Christopher Curtis for abusing his power by writing a false ticket and a threatening note to the unnamed driver.
Though he was scheduled to go to trial on Monday, he instead pleaded guilty to six charges including forgery, false report by a public employee, obtaining criminal offender record information under false pretenses, witness intimidation and more, Suffolk District Attorney Kevin R. Hayden said in a statement.
As part of his guilty plea, Curtis will serve one year of probation and will have to pay the victim $525 to make up for the money he spent fighting the phony ticket. The convictions have been reported to the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission, so his retirement benefits might also be affected, according to Hayden.
Court records obtained by WCVB-TV outlined the 2019 incident. The unnamed man said he was driving on Interstate 93 South when a white Toyota Tundra pickup truck approached the back of his car. He said he did not see what the driver looked like, but noted its front grill was missing.
In the documents, the man then described how the driver of the truck honked at him, merged into the lane to the right of him and veered to the left of him, which almost forced him into the median barrier.
According to WCVB, the man received the $790 traffic ticket with the handwritten note a week later. The note said the officer had watched the driver “go in and out of traffic,” adding he “tried pushing my truck off the road just to get into the left lane.”
“Clocked you going over 90 in a 65. I have a 6 min. video of you driving like an a– hat, and pulled up next to you and took your picture. Try fighting this…I dare you,” the note continued, adding, “Hope it was worth it. See you in court.”
The man appealed the ticket, which had been written using a fake officer identification number, WCVB reported. After an investigation found Curtis signed out the book that was used to write the ticket and was the one who ran the man’s plates and owned a white Tundra with a missing front grill, Curtis admitted to writing the ticket, but said it was a “joke for another officer,” according to the court documents.
Hayden said in a statement that when officers like Curtis abuse their authority, they must be held accountable to maintain the community’s belief in them.
“The public puts their trust in members of law enforcement with the expectation that they will use the power and authority of their position for the protection and betterment of the communities they are sworn to serve,” he said.
The Boston Police Department did not immediately respond to Newsweek’s request for comment.