Preparations underway for final former-officer’s trial over Nathan Bill’s brawl

A judge ruled that Daniel Billingsley and Christian Cicero will not spend any time behind bars as long as they do not violate their probation.
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 10:28 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Two now-former Springfield Police officers were sentenced Wednesday for their connection to a brawl that happened outside Nathan Bill’s Bar back in 2015.

A judge ruled that Daniel Billingsley and Christian Cicero will not spend any time behind bars as long as they do not violate their probation. One more defendant is set to face a judge early next month.

Judge Mark Mason sentenced Billingsley to a 1 year suspended sentence and Cicero to a 9 month suspended sentence.

Wednesday night, Western Mass News spoke with the attorney for Jose Diaz, the final former officer set to be tried in this incident. He said that he hopes Diaz will be acquitted.

“We look forward to our day in court, but it’s been a longtime coming,” said attorney Jeremy Powers.

After a complex investigation, the seven-year-old case nears a close as one last defendant prepares for his trial in connection to a brawl between off-duty police officers and four civilians outside Nathan Bill’s in 2015. The four men were seriously injured in the incident.

Of fourteen officers originally charged, nine have either been acquitted or have had their cases dismissed. Of the remaining five, two officers – Jameson Williams and Anthony Cicero – were found not guilty. Two more – Daniel Billingsley and Christian Cicero – were found guilty of simple assault and battery and were sentenced on Wednesday. The final officer, Jose Diaz, will face a judge in early May.

Western Mass News spoke with his attorney Jeremy Powers who said they are ready for the trial.

“Officer Diaz has maintained his innocence the entire time,” Powers said. “We have an aggressive defense and we’re confident that Officer Diaz will be acquitted after the trial.”

He pointed out that since the case has been ongoing for so long, it has cost taxpayers millions and taken a toll on Diaz.

“The fact that we’re here 7 years later is incredibly problematic and has been obviously very disruptive to my client’s lives, to his life,” Powers said.

On Wednesday, a judge ruled two other now-former officers, Daniel Billingsley and Christian Cicero, would not serve jail time so long as they do not violate their probation.

“Their absence of any prior record, their experience, their age, and their family ties which are significant, suggest to me that these cases, as to say for these two individuals, these cases are ones in which a period of incarceration is not called for,” Judge Mark Mason said.

State Representative Orlando Ramos reacted to that sentencing, saying he would like to see Judge Mason’s record for convicting first-time offenders.

“If it is his common practice to hand out this sort of sentence to all first-time offenders, then I would not have any issue with it,” said Representative Ramos, “but if there’s a discrepancy and for some reason this judge is handing down a light sentence because these two gentlemen are police officers, then I don’t think that’s fair.”

However, he said he was glad these officers were held accountable, and he hopes this incident will promote change in the Springfield Police Department.

“I hope that other officers learn from the mistakes of these officers who were involved, and I hope that nothing like this ever happens again in the city of Springfield,” Representative Ramos said.

Jury selection for the Diaz trial will begin Wednesday and the trial is expected to start the following Monday on May 9th.