Runaway Massachusetts state cop latest embarrassment

“The Runaway” — what a difference 63 years makes in what those two words mean to the Massachusetts State Police.

In 1958, it was the title of an iconic painting by Norman Rockwell — a uniformed state trooper sitting on a stool at a diner (actually the Howard Johnson’s in Pittsfield) next to an 8-year-old boy who was planning to run away from home.

In 2021, “the runaway” in the State Police now refers to Sgt. Bryan Erickson, who made more than $186,000 last year, including $48,000 in overtime.

Erickson is now locked up in the Rockingham County jail, and was denied bail Tuesday.

He is accused of drunkenly assaulting and throttling his 29-year-old “intimate partner,” after which he recklessly fled at speeds of up to 80 miles an hour across state lines to his home in Groveland in his gray Ford F-150 pickup.

In the endless torrent of State Police scandals, Sgt. Erickson is accused of plumbing new depths of depravity, according to the affidavit from the Exeter Police Department.

Here are some excerpts from the report in which the Exeter Police detail how the “definitely drunk” married father of two allegedly abused his girlfriend early Sunday morning:

“Erickson grabbed her face and held her mouth … threw her on the bed … squeezed her face with one hand … put his hand on her neck and one of his fingers down her throat … put his hand over her mouth because she was trying to scream … head-butted two times … .”

As his attorney Paul Garrity stated Tuesday: “He’s an exemplary example of the Mass. State Police.”

Isn’t that the truth? Back to the narrative:

“Erickson scratched inside of her cheek when he put his finger in her mouth … she had no pants on at the time and Erickson grabbed her (buttock) cheek and pulled it tight. She said it hurts and Erickson said ha ha I don’t care if it hurts you … .”

“He’s a peaceful husband,” the lawyer for the accused fiend said. “To say that he’s a danger to the public flies in the face of his background.”

Back to the exploits of the peaceful husband:

“(He) blocked her from leaving the room like four times … (she) tried to hide in the bathroom but he pushed the door open … Erickson had his hand over her neck (and) he has on top of her and she couldn’t breathe … she was crying and pretty much screaming … Erickson said you’re not leaving … .”

His wife and mother of his two children was in on the Zoom hearing Tuesday at which he was denied bail. She told his lawyer the alleged girlfriend-beater was welcome to return to the familial home.

You can understand — there aren’t too many jobs where a graduate of Salem State can make $186,000, behind which comes the 80% pension, especially after he’s done a good, long stretch in prison.

His lawyer did what a defense lawyer always does. He kind of shrugged off the horrific crimes his ex-Marine client is accused of.

“The charges are abhorrent but they are aberrations and they are allegations.”

As the Exeter Police arrived at his younger mistress’ house Sunday morning, the sergeant fled in his truck. The girlfriend warned police that he had a firearm in the truck’s center console. Being a sneaky guy, she said he “typically parks his vehicle down the street,” so that he can flee out the back of the house and escape.

Sgt. Erickson’s favorite Faron Young country song is, “Loving Here and Living There and Lying In Between.”

His favorite Del Shannon song is, “My Little Runaway.”

Until this happened, it appeared that the State Police were coming out of their squalid tailspin of corruption. When Erickson was lugged, it had been almost 12 hours since the most recent embarrassment for the MSP, a civil case by some lieutenants suggesting the possibility of cheating on a promotional exam.

The colonel’s chief of staff amazingly finished first — first! — on the captain’s exam. By the way, the chief of staff’s duties include driving the colonel, for which the coatholder was paid $180,923.77 last year.

After his promotion, the base pay for the colonel’s friend is now $185,487.

Question: how much does the typical Uber or Lyft driver make every year?

Now Erickson will remain locked up in New Hampshire for at least another week, until his next hearing. That’s the bad news. The good news is, by that time there should be at least another one or two new State Police scandals to make everybody forget The Runaway.

You know, back in the 1950s, the State Police brass loved that Norman Rockwell Runaway painting so much they commissioned him to do a second heart-warming painting for the annual State Police Christmas card.

So do you think the MSP will use Tuesday’s screen shots of Sgt. Erickson in mask and an orange jump suit in the Rockingham County Jail for their Christmas card this year?

Join the list for a chance to win Lunch in Studio with Grace!

Each week, we'll draw a lucky winner to enjoy lunch with Grace in-studio.

You have successfully subscribed and your name is entered into the contest!