A former Boston police officer who was beaten more than 25 years ago by colleagues who mistook him for a suspect in a fatal shooting will be the new leader of the city's police department, Mayor Michelle Wu announced Wednesday. The commissioner post is a homecoming for Michael Cox, 57, a city native who served in multiple roles with the Boston Police Department before becoming the police chief in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 2019. Cox is expected to take the helm in Boston next month, reports the AP.
Cox joined the Boston Police Department in 1989 and rose through the ranks over the years, becoming part of the command staff and running various units of the force. Cox was working undercover in plainclothes in January 1995 when his fellow officers mistook him for a Black suspect in a fatal shooting and severely beat him. Cox was left bloody and beaten on the ground, and he said the officers later tried to cover it up. Cox said it was a "tough time," but that he chose to stay in the department and improve things instead of walking away from a job he loved.
"Since then ... I have dedicated my life to making sure that both the Boston Police Department and policing in general [have] grown and learned ... to make sure that we never repeat that kind of incident against anyone," Cox told reporters, describing his appointment as an "emotional moment" for him. Boston's last commissioner, Dennis White, was fired last year following a bitter battle to keep his job after decades-old domestic violence accusations came to light. White was placed on leave over the allegations, which he denied, just days into his new job. (Read more Boston Police Department stories.)