A Massachusetts District Court upheld the Boston Retirement Board's decision that a former Boston Police officer forfeited his pension due to drunkenly shooting another officer in West Roxbury in 2006.
On Jan. 18, Judge Francis Marini of the Taunton District Court affirmed "the decision of a judge of the District Court that determined that the Boston retirement board (board) correctly decided that Durkin's pension was forfeited."
Durkin was a Boston Police officer and on June 21, 2006, after finishing his afternoon shift, he went to an evening cookout at the Dorchester Yacht Club, according to the ruling. He attended the cookout in civilian clothes, carrying his department-issued firearm in his off-duty holster on his hip, as was permitted.
Durkin had drank some alcohol at the cookout and left after midnight. He then headed to a lounge in the Dorchester where he continued to drink. As Durkin was leaving the lounge, a Boston Police officer, Joseph Behnke, suggested Durkin sleep at Behnke's house in the West Roxbury because Durkin seemed too intoxicated to drive. Durkin fell asleep during the drive to West Roxbury, "woke up, left the car, and started walking 'in a highly intoxicated state' in a direction away from Behnke's house."
Behnke followed Durkin and asked him to come back to the house. But Durkin, from a distance of five to six feet, pulled out his weapon and fired one shot at Behnke, hitting him by his hip. According to the ruling, Behnke shouted, "I've been shot, Paul, you shot me!" Durkin walked away, and called a friend on his cellphone and asked to be picked up and driven away.
Durkin pleaded guilty to assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon on April 23, 2007, according to the ruling. On March 31, 2009, he applied to the board for deferred superannuation retirement, did not receive a response, and then requested a hearing.
At a July 15, 2011, board hearing, Durkin acknowledged that "the most important duty of a police officer is to protect life." On September 22, 2011, the board voted to deprive Durkin of his pension.