Holyoke, MA — Those who are paying attention to the ever-expanding police state in the land of the free know that the system is set up in such a way that it protects bad cops while punishing the good ones. The following example of Holyoke Police Officer Rafael Roca calling out corruption in his department and being immediately suspended for it, proves this point perfectly.
In March, Roca was suspended after taking to YouTube to expose outright criminal activity throughout his department starting with Holyoke Police Chief Manny Febo, who Roca called a “dirty cop.”
“Yeah they didn’t waste any time. They took my gun and my badge and kicked me out of the email system,” Roca said during an interview at the time, according to Mass Live. “I’ll probably lose my job, but I’m good. I stand behind the video and what I said in it.”
Fast forward to this month, and he was fired for it. In March, Chief David Pratt suspended Roca and then recommended that the mayor terminate Roca and on November 10, mayor Terence Murphy followed that recommendation,
In the video, which is 43 minutes long, and has amassed over 56,000 views, Roca made multiple accusations including missing guns, racial discrimination, covering up criminal activity in the department, including “cops beating their wives,” and asked for an investigation by the FBI.
“I talk to citizens. I talk to retired Holyoke police officers. They all say the Holyoke police department has been corrupt for as long as they can remember … as long as anyone can remember,” said Roca.
In the video, Roca said he’s had a target on his back since he called out corruption back in 2016 during a DUI stop. During the stop, Holyoke Police Sgt. Jorge Monsalve opted not to arrest the person driving drunk — a Holyoke Fire Department lieutenant — and drove him home instead. While this type of discretion is often warranted, it’s what happened next that made Roca question the integrity of his fellow brothers in blue.
After Monsalve brought the lieutenant home, Roca later spotted the man speeding by in the car he agreed to leave behind. The firefighter then led police on a high speed chase, blowing through a stop sign and endangering everyone on the road. When he was finally stopped, the fire lieutenant was not arrested nor charged with a crime.
Nothing happened to the officers who witnessed the crimes and failed to act.
According to a report from MassLive, the other allegations are as follows:
Roca’s video vaguely references overtime abuse, nepotism and favoritism within the department, calling out to supervisors — though not by name — who lied about lost or stolen police-issued weapons.
One occurred in 2011, in a case in which Sgt. John P. Hart was suspended for five days and ordered to pay the department $2,000. Police said the weapon and its ammo were in a plastic case that slid out of the back of his pickup truck.
Police later found the weapon thanks to an anonymous tipster who found it in an alley while Mayor Alex B. Morse was doing a ride-along in a cruiser. But in his video, Roca claims the gun was stolen from Hart’s home while his son was hosting a party. Roca claims the tipster had been arrested and knew where the rifle was, offering to recover it in exchange for consideration in court.
“So then they ‘found’ the rifle … BS, BS, BS,” said Roca, who frequently rifled through notes he made for the video.
He also told viewers of another, unnamed police officer who had “guns and equipment” stolen along with his car. The car was recovered, the guns and equipment were not, according to Roca.
After posting the video, the department demanded Roca pull it down. A police captain called Roca the day after he posted it to make the demand.
“He said: ‘The chief saw your video and he’s ordering you to take it down,’” Roca recounted. “I said I’m sorry but, respectfully, I refuse to take it down.”
The next day Roca was suspended for violating the department’s social media policy, which bars officers from criticizing the department on social media platforms.
“The Holyoke Police Department is aware of the video posted by one of our officers. This is a personnel matter that is being looked into at this time. I stand by the integrity of the men and women of the Holyoke Police Department and I welcome any outside agency that would like to look into any of the alleged allegations from the video,” said the chief.
Sadly, this is par for the course and good cops who call out corruption in their department are targeted by the bad and forced out, or worse. As TFTP reported in August, Greensboro Police Department officer Williams took to social media and called for fellow officers to speak out against injustices. Williams went viral with a TikTok video speaking about the murder of George Floyd, while pleading with his fellow officers not to stay silent when they witness their brothers in blue committing crimes. For this, he was fired.
We also reported on the case of Joliet police Sgt. Javier Esqueda, who, like Roca and Williams, is a good cop. We can say this with certainty because he proved it by refusing to stay silent about the alleged criminal acts of his fellow cops and risked his career and now his freedom to shine light into darkness. He watched a video of his fellow officers appear to suffocate a man until he died and decided that enough was enough.
For exposing the crimes of his fellow cops, Esqueda was arrested and subsequently indicted in January and charged on four counts of official misconduct for accessing a video of alleged criminal activity within his own department. He now faces 20 years behind bars.