Cape & Islands Legislative Delegation Calls for Oversight Hearing

Concerns raised following murder of Sgt. Gannon...

The entire Cape & Islands Legislative Delegation has sent a letter to the Chairs of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary and the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.  The full text of the letter appears below.

State Senator Julian Cyr remarked, “We owe it to Sergeant Gannon, his family, and the Yarmouth Police Department to take a hard look at what happened, particularly at the Trial Court, witness protection programs, and probation departments,” said State Senator Julian Cyr. “We need to see if there are lessons to be learned from this tragic loss. The Cape & Islands legislative delegation is united in this. It’s about getting answers to help our community heal.”

Retired State Trooper and First Barnstable District State Rep. Timothy R. Whelan told Cape Cod Today, "While Sergeant Gannon's family and colleagues remain our community's focus as we work toward healing, it is also incumbent upon my colleagues and I to seek the answers as to why "125" was out on the streets wreaking havoc and violence in our community instead of being safely incarcerated.", said Whelan.  "Jack McGuire, Ron Tarentino, Mark Charbonnier, Bob Mortell, Tom Rose, and now Sean Gannon; the list of brave officers felled by violent felons who never should have been on the streets in the first place continues to grow.  This must stop now."  

Full Text of Letter

Chairs of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary
Representative Claire D. Cronin Senator William N. Brownsberger
State House, Room 136 State House, Room 504
Boston, MA 02133 Boston, MA 02133

Chairs of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security
Representative Harold P. Naughton Jr. Senator Michael O. Moore
State House, Room 167 State House, Room 109-B
Boston, MA, 02133 Boston, MA 02133

Dear Chairwoman Cronin, Chairman Brownsberger, Chairman Naughton, and Chairman Moore:

As you are all well aware, the town of Yarmouth, the Yarmouth Police Department, and our entire Cape Cod community have been devastated by the death of Yarmouth Sergeant Sean Gannon, who was killed in the line of duty on April 12, 2018.

The individual who has been charged with this heinous murder is Thomas Latanowich, who has reportedly spent time living in various locations across Cape Cod and the City of Somerville while on parole.

We are shocked that Latanowich has been criminally charged over 125 times, including numerous serious and violent crimes. His past criminal acts include violent abuse of a domestic partner, many charges of assault and battery, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, possession of various illegal drugs with the intent to distribute, numerous charges for possession of illegal guns and dangerous weapons, witness intimidation, among others.

It is clear that Latanowich is a career criminal with a predilection towards violence, both to complete strangers and those close to him. But he has faced little prison time for his extensive crimes, only serving prison time from 2010 – 2014 for various gun and drug charges. Reports indicate that the several times Latanowich has been prosecuted for violent crimes, he was able to avoid imprisonment through a combination of not-guilty findings by judges, failure of key witnesses to testify, and outright dismissal of charges.

His extensive criminal record, and seeming ability to dodge proper punishment for his crimes, has made this awful event even more difficult for Sgt. Gannon’s loved ones, the Yarmouth Police Department, and our close-knit Cape Cod community. Now that we have laid Sgt. Gannon to rest, we seek to turn our region’s grief towards action.

Unfortunately the Commonwealth has seen the heinous murders of police officers in the line of duty in recent years. Woburn Officer John Maguire was killed by Dominic Cinelli, a violent criminal out on parole in 2010. In 2016, Auburn Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr. was killed by habitual offendor Jorge Zambrano.

In light of this most recent killing, we respectfully request that the Joint Committee on the Judiciary in consultation with the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security convene an oversight hearing in the coming weeks to further scrutinize this matter and to identify lapses in the criminal justice system that led to Latanowich committing this crime. We would ask for the opportunity to be a part of this hearing and suggest that the following be invited to attend and provide testimony: Secretary Daniel Bennett, Chief Justice of the Trial Court Paula M. Carey, District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, District Attorney Marian Ryan, Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson, Somerville Police Chief David Fallon, Massachusetts Parole Board Chairman Paul Treseler, Massachusetts Probation Commissioner Edward J. Dolan, among others the committee deems appropriate.

We look forward to working with you in partnership in the weeks to come. Thank you for obliging this request.

Respectfully,

  • State Senator Julian Cyr
  • State Representative Timothy R. Whelan
  • State Representative William L. Crocker Jr.
  • State Representative Sarah K. Peake
  • State Representative Randy Hunt
  • State Representative David T. Vieira
  • State Senator Viriato M. deMacedo
  • State Representative Dylan Fernandes
     

CC:

  • Governor Charles D. Baker
  • Speaker Robert A. DeLeo
  • Senate President Harriette L. Chandler
  • Attorney General Maura Healey
  • Auditor Suzanne M. Bump
  • Members of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary
  • Members of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security
  • Chief Frank Frederickson, Yarmouth Police Department
  • Tracy Post, Chair of the Yarmouth Board of Selectmen

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