Michael Pessoa

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Service Record

Fall River Massachusetts Police Department

Rank Officer
Dates of Service Hired approximately 2002.[1] Ended January 12, 2022.[2]
Last Known Status Terminated.[3]

Incident Reports

2006 Arrest of Dennis Roque

In April 2006, Pessoa and Officer Dennis Gagne responded to a report that Roque's friend had stolen some jewelry.[4]

Pessoa is alleged to have used excessive force against Roque, who was 16 years old at the time. Roque suffered a lacerated spleen.[5]

Response Timeline

On April 14, 2009, Roque filed a lawsuit against the city, Pessoa, Gagne, and the police chief.[6][4]

In 2010, the city settled the lawsuit for $12,000.[5]

2014 Arrest of Carlos Roldan

On October 6, 2014, Pessoa and Officer Andrew DeMelo responded to a disturbance involving Roldan's sister and a neighbor. Pessoa was arresting the sister when Roldan approached to ask why. Pessoa grabbed Roldan by the arm and used a leg sweep to take Roldan to the ground. Roldan claimed that one officer kicked him several times while the other watched.[7][8]

During this incident, Roldan's leg was broken.[1]

Roldan was charged with interfering with a police officer, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.[9]

Response Timeline

On September 16, 2016, the charges against Roldan were dismissed.[7]

In March 2017, Roldan filed a lawsuit against Pessoa and DeMelo.[8]

In May 2019, the lawsuit was settled for $225,000.[2]

Charges were filed against Pessoa as part of a later incident. ‎

2017 Assault of Kimberly Viera

Note: the victim's name is also shown as Kimberly Vieira.[10]

In October 2017, Viera recorded Pessoa and another officer as they arrested her friends in a local store.[2]

Viera claimed that Pessoa took her into custody, squeezed her neck, slammed her face against her knees and a chair, and choked her.[10]

Response Timeline

On October 9, 2020, Viera filed a lawsuit against Pessoa, officers David Medeiros and Joseph Teixeira, and the city.[10]

In April 2021, the city settled the lawsuit for $32,000.[2]

2017 Death of Larry Ruiz-Barreto

On November 12, 2017, officer Hoar shot and killed Ruiz-Barreto.[2]

Family members claimed that Pessoa assaulted them at the hospital where Ruiz-Barreto was taken.[2]

Response Timeline

On November 2, 2020, the family filed a lawsuit against multiple officers, including Pessoa.[11]

2018 Arrest of Aliecer Rodriguez

In March 2018, Rodriguez filmed Pessoa during the arrest of another person.[12][13] Rodriguez claimed that Pessoa beat him and destroyed his cell phone.[7]

Pessoa and Officer William Silvia arrested Rodriguez for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.[2]

Response Timeline

As Silvia's arrest report did not match the video, it was alleged that he had filed a false police report.[2]

On June 25, 2019, the charges against Rodriguez were dropped.[7]

Charges were filed against Pessoa as part of a later incident. ‎

2019 Arrest of David Lafrance

On February 19, 2019, Officer Thomas Roberts and Passoa responded to an apartment for a neighbor dispute. Lafrance was detained and handcuffed. As the handcuffs were being removed, Lafrance and Pessoa exchanged insults before Pessoa took Lafrance to the ground. Lafrance claimed that Pessoa hit him in the face with a closed fist.[14]

Lafrance was arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct.[15]

The incident was captured on a surveillance camera.[14]

Pessoa did not file the required use of force report until a supervisor saw Lafrance's injuries in his mugshot.[14]

Response Timeline

On June 27, 2019, the charges against Lafrance were dropped.[7]

Charges were filed against Pessoa as part of a later incident. ‎

2019 Booking of Luke Raffa

In March 2019, Pessoa slammed Raffa's head into a metal desk in the booking room. Raffa was handcuffed at the time and suffered a concussion and a laceration.[5][2] Pessoa claimed that Raffa spat at him.[13]

Response Timeline

In March 2019, the department referred several cases from 2014 to 2019 to the county District Attorney.[3]

On April 23, 2019, Pessoa was placed on paid administrative leave.[5]

During the department's investigation, officers Thomas Roberts, Shawn Aguiar, and Andrew DeMelo admitted to filing false reports.[2]

On June 26, 2019, the charges against Raffa were dropped.[7]

On June 27, 2019, Pessoa was charged with aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of assault and battery, four counts of civil rights violation with bodily injury, three counts of intimidation of a witness (misleading), three counts of filing a false report by a public officer, and malicious destruction of property.[5][3] Pessoa pleaded not guilty.[1]

On June 27, 2019, Pessoa was suspended without pay.[16]

On December 6, 2021, a judge dismissed the Raffa case as Pessoa might have been defending himself after Raffa spat at him.[13] Another source reported that the case was dropped as the victim had died.[17]

On January 12, 2022, Pessoa was fired for "egregious violations of Police Department Rules and Regulations".[2]

On December 16, 2022, a judge ruled that the remaining cases were not related and Pessoa would face three separate trials.[3]

On May 31, 2023, the trial for the Lafrance incident concluded with Pessoa being found guilty of assault and battery, intimidation, a civil rights violation, and filing false police reports. Two other trials are continuing.[3][14]

On June 22, 2023, Pessoa was sentenced to 1.5-3 years in state prison for the Lafrance incident.[18]

In November 2023, Pessoa pleaded guilty in the Roldan and Rodriguez incidents and was sentenced to at least 1.5 years in prison, to be served concurrently with this earlier sentence.[19]

LEO Ratings


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Brian Crandall, Fall River police officer indicted on charges of abusing authority pleads not guilty, WJAR, 2019-06-27
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Jo Goode, 'Egregious violations': Fall River police fire officer awaiting trial for excessive force, Herald News, 2022-01-12
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Ken Paiva, Former Fall River police officer convicted on all charges, committed without bail, Fall River Reporter, 2023-05-31
  4. 4.0 4.1 Amanda Burke, Attorney: Video shows Fall River police officer using excessive force, Herald News, 2019-05-17
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Amanda Burke, Fall River police officer Michael Pessoa arraigned on assault charges, Herald News, 2019-06-27
  6. Roque v. City of Fall River et al, U.S. District Court. 2009-04-14
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Amanda Burke, DA drops charges against men arrested by indicted Fall River police officer Michael Pessoa, Herald News, 2019-08-07
  8. 8.0 8.1 Amanda Burke, Fall River police officer named in lawsuit on paid leave for separate use-of-force incident, Herald News, 2019-05-09
  9. Jo Goode, Man gets $225K to settle lawsuit over excessive force during arrest in Fall River, Herald News, 2019-05-08
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Jo Goode, Fall River police officer faces another lawsuit alleging excessive force, Herald News, 2020-01-12
  11. Jo Goode, Larry Ruiz-Barreto's family files lawsuit against Fall River Police Department, Herald News, 2020-11-04
  12. Scandals, lawsuits leave Fall River Police Department in turmoil, WPRI, 2021-11-22
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Jo Goode, Judge dismisses 4 charges against Fall River police officer accused of assault — here's why, Herald News, 2021-12-15
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Jo Goode, Fall River ex-cop Michael Pessoa guilty of excessive force. A judge has sent him to jail., Herald News, 2023-05-31
  15. Jo Goode, Officer on trial said he was in fear before 'taking down' alleged victim in criminal case, Herald News, 2023-05-30
  16. Officer Suspended, Brian Crandall twitter, 2019-06-27
  17. Former Fall River police officer convicted of assault, WJAR, 2023-05-31
  18. Jo Goode, Former Fall River officer Michael Pessoa sentenced to state prison in brutality case., Herald News, 2023-06-22
  19. Eli Sherman, Disgraced Fall River cop pleads guilty in two more excessive force cases, WPRI, 2023-12-05