Dalton officer faces charges for allegedly choking woman, putting gun to her head


PITTSFIELD >> A Dalton police officer who has exhibited "a pattern of assaultive behavior" is facing charges of domestic assault for allegedly choking a woman and putting a pistol to her head last summer, according to court documents.

James Scace, 47, of South Street, was the subject of a criminal complaint filed Nov. 18 in Central Berkshire District Court.

His status with the department was not clear Friday afternoon. Neither Dalton Police Chief Jeffrey E. Coe nor Town Clerk Deborah J. Merry could be reached for comment.

Scace was involved in a civil motor vehicle infraction in July "after he had been drinking alcohol and was en route to purchase more," according to a probable cause statement prepared by Massachusetts State Police Detective Brian Foley.

Details of that incident weren't included in the court filing, but it was noted that the Dalton Police Department was notified, which caused Scace "considerable angst."

Later that evening, Scace became "enraged," and began destroying property inside the home and smashed the woman's cellphone to prevent her from calling for help, the report said. The woman left the house, but Scace allegedly followed her outside, threw her to the ground, kicked her in the ribs and wrapped his hands around her neck and throttled her hard enough to cause "significant" bruising.

The woman went back inside the house and saw Scace enter the basement and re-emerge holding a black handgun, believed to be his service weapon.

When he was asked what he was going to do with the weapon, Scace allegedly placed the firearm to the side of the woman's head, touching it with the end of the muzzle.

The woman told officers she was in fear for her life, the report said. Scace apologized the following morning and said he did not remember what he'd done.

The probable cause statement says this is the second incident in which Scace forcibly prevented a victim from accessing their cellphone to call for help. There is no information in the court file about the alleged earlier incident.

The victim's statements were taken Nov. 18 during an interview related to "an ongoing criminal investigation."

The report concludes, "the criminal investigation into the activities of James Scace has revealed a pattern of assaultive behavior while consuming alcohol."

Scace faces charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (two counts), domestic assault and battery, strangulation and witness intimidation.

He was released pending his arraignment, scheduled for Dec. 3, on the condition that he not possess any firearms.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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