- Associated Press - Friday, September 15, 2017

AGAWAM, Mass. (AP) - The state Civil Service Commission has upheld the town of Agawam’s decision to fire a police officer seen on video striking a man in custody.

The commission said in its ruling Thursday that Officer John Moccio “engaged in excessive force by twice striking a prisoner in red (vital) target areas with his baton and by striking the prisoner after the prisoner was no longer assaultive.”

Moccio was one of three officers fired after the man was arrested at the Six Flags New England amusement park in October 2016. The other two were reinstated, although one was demoted.

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A lawyer for the officers said they were justified in their use of force because the intoxicated man was belligerent.

State prosecutors did not press criminal charges but a federal investigation remains open.

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