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Mass. Officers Accused of Roughing Up Shool Principal Are Placed On Leave

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - Four Springfield police officers accused of roughing up a school principal were placed on administrative leave while officials investigate the brutality charges, city officials said.

Douglas Greer, principal of Robert M. Hughes Academy Charter School, said that police officers abused him earlier this month while he was having a diabetic attack. A man who says he witnessed the incident said the officers kicked Greer and hit him with a flashlight after they pulled him from his car through a broken window.

Mayor Charles Ryan's request for the officers to be put on leave was approved Monday by the state-appointed control board overseeing the city's finances. Ryan, who is a member of the board, said the group has ultimate control over personnel matters for city employees.

Kevin Coyle, the lawyer for the International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 364, called the board's decision "outrageous."

"The control board obviously was created to help the city deal with its financial difficulties," he said. "This has nothing to do with the city's financial difficulties."

The police department's internal investigation unit is probing Greer's abuse allegations, and a lawyer for the principal said he also is seeking assault and battery charges against the four officers.

One of the officers, James Kervick, declined to comment Tuesday morning. The other three - Jeffrey Asher, James Shewchuck and James Moriarty - could not be reached for comment.

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