A death, answered with rebellion by angry citizens in the streets of East Cambridge last October, last week met the first of what promises to be several legal disputes in the courts of Middlesex County.
A closed grand jury last Friday declined to press manslaughter and assault and battery charges against two Cambridge policemen in connection with the death of Lawrence P. Largey in a police cell on October 21.
Yet soon after their apparent vindication, patrolmen Peter E. DeLuca and Rudolph V. Carbone were named as defendants in a $1 million civil suit filed on behalf of the Largey family. They will also face misconduct hearings before their superiors.
"The grand jury action was quite wrong; there was more than enough evidence of beating and neglect," Michael J. Haroz, attorney for the Largey family, said Wednesday.
The suit, which implicates five officers present at the police station upon Largey's arrival, also names City Manager John H. Corcoran and Police Chief James Reagan, for their alleged delinquency in disciplining the officers.
Sister Leoretta Monaghan, a worker at Hard Times, an East Cambridge neighborhood organization, claimed that officers at the police station had been "negligent" in securing medical attention for Largey.
The suit was filed under a section of the City statutes that promises reparation of damages to those affected when an officer of the law deprives a citizen of his life.
However, with the grand jury decision, Corcoran announced Monday a City investigation into DeLuca's possible misconduct, and Reagan disclosed similar plans for hearings of Carbone, lieutenant Anthony J. Temello, and patrolman Robert Mills.
The most severe punishments any of the officers could incur are dismissals. The dates of the hearings are yet to be announced by City Solicitor Edward McCarthy.
Neither of the actions -- the suit nor the hearings -- was prompted by the officers' clearing by the grand jury. Haroz and Corcoran claim separately. Yet in all remarks from workers at Hard Times this week, there was anger at the manner in which testimony at the hearing and the earlier inquest was kept from the public.
"At least we'll now have something in public rather than behind closed doors like the D.A. has been giving us," Haroz said. "We want the public to know the facts. Basically, they held a trial in secret."
Edward S. Englander, a worker at the Law Commune, said Monday, "I don't think the D.A. would have sought an indictment unless the report showed an assault." He asked that the report be made public.