The city of Gloucester fired Police Chief Leonard Campanello on Monday after placing him on leave last month as officials began an internal affairs investigation.
Campanello is “disappointed” by this decision and believesthat it is without justification, according to his lawyer Terrence Kennedy.
Campanello, who has received national praise for his efforts to help fight opioid addiction,was placed on administrative leave in September based on “disturbing allegations” concerning “certin aspects” ofhis relationships with women, according to Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken.
The city said that they believedCampanellowaspurposefully misleading investigators by tampering with evidence, specifically his city-issued cellphone.
Though Camepanello previously told the city he left his phone in his locked office at the police station, it wasn’t there when investigators tried to retrieve it.
Kennedy told the city that the cellphone along with Campanello’s key to his office and security device appeared at Kennedy’s office in Everett through overnight mail, according to the mayor’s office.The return address was the Gloucester Police Department.
The phone had been erased, officials said.
Kennedy said that the investigation has been “a witch-hunt from the beginning.”
“The reasons given by the city for terminating the contract had nothing to do with the original inquiry they were conducting,” Kennedy said in a statement.
The mayor’s office said that an investigation into the envelope showed that Campanello himself mailed the package, despite a previous statement from the chief during questioning in which he suggested that someone within the department may have removed the phone from his office without his permission.
“The mayor has lost confidence in Chief Campanello as a result of his actions, in destroying evidence contained on the cellphone and especially in deceiving the city by suggesting that other employees of the Gloucester Police Department had broken into his office,” the city said in a statement.
Kennedy said that Campanellocooperated fully during the investigation and that he is proud of his work for the City of Gloucester as well as the Angel program, which partnered a volunteer “angel” with an addict who came to the police department for help, rather than placing them under arrest.
“That program alone has put over 500 people into treatment and has sparked similar programs in over 28 states helping thousands of people suffering from the disease of addiction,” Kennedy said. “[Campanello] intends to continue to advocate even stronger for those suffering from addiction.”
Campanello will have an opportunity to present evidence at a hearing to be scheduled in the near future, the city said.
Acting Chief John McCarthy will continue to lead the department at this time and audits into the department are ongoing. An investigation is also underway into Sgt.Detective Sean Conners’s personal conduct.