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Press Release Ethics Commission’s Enforcement Division Alleges Medford Police Officer Harold MacGilvray Violated Conflict of Interest Law

For immediate release:
  • David A. Wilson, Executive Director

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David Giannotti, Communications Division Chief

MacGilvray allegedly engaged in partisan political activity while on duty and in uniform

Boston, MAThe Enforcement Division of the State Ethics Commission today filed an Order to Show Cause alleging that Medford Police Officer Harold MacGilvray violated the state conflict of interest law when he used public resources to support and oppose candidates for elected office.  The Order initiates adjudicatory proceedings against MacGilvray.  

According to the Order, on October 29, 2016, just prior to the November presidential election, MacGilvray was on duty working at two community events.  MacGilvray, who also serves as the president of the Medford Police Patrolmen’s Association, posed for a photograph with a person wearing a Hillary Clinton mask, shackles, and a prison jumpsuit, and another photograph with a person wearing a Donald Trump mask and a business suit.  While still on duty, MacGilvray captioned both photographs with political comments, posted one photograph on the police association’s Facebook page, and asked another police officer to post the other photograph on the Facebook page.  The photographs were widely shared on social media and reported on in news outlets nationally. 

The conflict of interest law prohibits public employees from using their public positions to secure unwarranted benefits for themselves or others.  The Order states that MacGilvray misused his official position as a police officer when he used public resources, his police uniform and work time, to post photographs and captions showing support for one presidential candidate over another.  McGilvray’s actions secured an unwarranted privilege of public support by uniformed police officers for a political candidate.  As stated in the Order, “the support of uniformed police officers for a political candidate can carry significant weight with voters, and can possibly intimidate supporters of an opposing candidate, especially when coupled with disapproval of the other candidate.  The use of the photographs on social media also provided valuable political advertising.”

According to the Commission’s Enforcement Division’s procedures, the Enforcement Division files an Order to Show Cause after the Commission has found reasonable cause to believe the subject of the order to have violated the conflict of interest law.  Before filing the Order to Show Cause, the Enforcement Division gives the subject or his attorney an opportunity to resolve the matter through a public education letter or disposition agreement.

The Commission will schedule the matter for a hearing within 90 days.


Media Contact

State Ethics Commission 

The State Ethics Commission is an independent state agency that administers and enforces the provisions of the conflict of interest law and financial disclosure law.


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