MARBLEHEAD — Chief Robert Picariello releases the following statement to the community:
“In mid-November, I was made aware of an incident involving a Marblehead Police officer in which they allegedly scratched a swastika into the paint of another officer’s personal vehicle.
“I immediately began to gather the facts of the incident, and the officer was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, consistent with the policies and procedures of the department.
“This afternoon, I have been informed that Officer Timothy Tufts has resigned from the Marblehead Police Department as a result of this incident. He initially joined the department in March 2016.
“I am dismayed and deeply disturbed by this incident. Today, there is no room for excuses of ignorance. The swastika is a symbol of hate and genocide, and we must speak up against acts of hate and hate speech whenever and wherever we encounter it.
“The Marblehead Police Department is committed to equality and respect of human rights and human dignity. This incident is not representative of the dedicated, decent women and men in our agency.
“I have been in contact with the Anti-Defamation League of New England and will engage their invaluable training programs and resources for every member of the Marblehead Police Department.
“Furthermore, I will commission an independent administrative review and retain an outside investigator to conduct a holistic finding of fact so that we can learn all of the facts of this incident and include it in our training programs.
“I apologize to our community for this deeply disturbing and unfortunate situation, and I vow to do everything and engage every resource available to ensure that this kind of incident does not repeat itself in the future.”