A suspended Wareham police officer admitted sufficient facts in Edgartown District Court on Monday for assault and battery, amended for assault and battery on an elderly or disabled person.
Ryan Turner, 40, from Taunton, received a one-year, non-conviction extension, probation and an anger management class order following a 2019 violent incident inside Sharky’s Cantina in Edgartown .
A summary of the facts read in court by Cape Town and Islands Assistant District Attorney Matt Palazzolo said Turner and a group of his family members he was with encountered another group of people inside by Sharky on September 5, 2019. A person from the other group commented on Turner’s approximately 2-year-old niece, Palazzolo said, “saying she looked like Elton John based on her glasses. “
Palazzolo went on to say, “Shortly after, the defendant’s group left. It was then that the mother of this accused, and the mother of the young girl, confronted the friend of the victim. At this point, the friend states that he has a light blue pill for her, essentially referring to sexual assault.
It’s not entirely clear how the pill equates to a sex reference, except that Viagra is blue in color.
Palazzolo said that afterwards violence occurred, including the attack on the victim.
It was later clarified that the victim had been knocked unconscious by a drink and had been punched in the head. A factor exacerbating the severity of the assault was, according to Palazzolo, that the victim had previously undergone brain surgery.
Palazzolo clarified that the person Turner hit and the person who made Elton John’s comment were different people in the same group — essentially, Turner hit the wrong person.
Turner’s attorney, Kevin Reddington, argued for anger management classes for his client. “He was employed for a number of years as a Wareham police officer,” Reddington said. “He is currently suspended because of this matter – he will probably be released permanently because of this matter.”
Reddington said Turner worked as a project supervisor for a construction company.
In an apparent effort to point out extenuating circumstances, Reddington said “salacious comments” fueled the situation at Sharky that day.
“He accepted responsibility,” Reddington said. “He has no records, obviously.”
Judge Benjamin Barnes pointed out that Turner was involved in a similar altercation in 2003, a case that was thrown out of Taunton District Court but included pre-trial probation. Judge Barnes said it was therefore not an isolated incident and questioned why Turner would be a good candidate for anger management.
“Because anger management is obviously about a person acting out of anger — unable to control themselves,” Reddington said. He added that no problems had arisen for his client “whatever” since the incident mentioned by Judge Barnes, and that his client is working a long day and “taking care of his family”.
Turner was ordered to pay $50 witness fees, but the probation fees were waived.
Edgartown police reports obtained by The Times describe a “young girl (about 2 years old) with very thick glasses” who received a remark from one of the victim groups. This person “comically commented that the young child looked like Elton John’s daughter.” The girl was described in another report as 8 months old.
Ryan Turner and his brother, Seth Turner, and other members of their band have been described in various reports as “very big men” and “big guys, even the smallest of them” and “gigantic guys “.
Ryan Turner was described in a report as “6’4, 275 lbs” and Seth Turner as “6’4, 235 lbs”. approximately.
The police were able to find Turner because someone got a phone photo of one or more of the vehicles they left Sharky in.
When an officer came to the house where the Turners lived, Seth Turner reportedly told the officer that he pushed another member of the victim’s group but did not hit the victim. A witness told police, according to a report, that one of the ‘big, big guys’ knocked a drink out of the victim’s associate’s hand and then ‘grabs [the victim’s] beer at the bar and ‘smashes’ [the victim] in the face, then throws him over his head, grabs his shirt and punches him two or three times.
A report says the 63-year-old victim had previously undergone brain aneurysm repair. A report also shows that the victim’s associate who allegedly made the comment about the pill denied ever making such a remark.
Police then attempted to bring Ryan Turner to the Edgartown Police Station for an interview, according to a report. Turner told Edgartown police he was involved in an altercation at Sharky’s house and agreed to come to the station, the report said. Turner later called back and said he was trying to get a ride because he had “a few beers” and didn’t want to drive himself, according to a report. The police decided to pick up Turner at the address where he was staying on the vineyard. At this address, Ryan’s brother Seth told police that his brother had “got on a boat and left the island”.
A Wareham police lieutenant later viewed a segment of Sharky’s security video with Edgartown police, according to a report, and identified the attacker, who was wearing a white hat, as Ryan Turner.
Reddington did not immediately respond to a voicemail requesting comment. A message left in the office of Chief Walter Correia of the Wareham Police Department was not returned.
In an email to The Times that corroborates what Reddington said in court, Dorene M. Allen-England, Wareham’s director of human resources, wrote: “Ryan Turner has been on unpaid leave since approximately January 13, 2020.