What did South Burlington police know about cop's alleged domestic violence?

Published: Feb. 21, 2020 at 1:14 PM EST
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The South Burlington Police Department has opened an internal investigation into two officers that were "potentially aware" of domestic violence by a former fellow officer arrested this week.

Police Chief Shawn Burke told our Ike Bendavid this could be troubling if his department potentially missed an opportunity to help a domestic abuse survivor.

Thursday, Winooski Police Det. Christopher Matott pleaded not guilty in Grand Isle County to six charges including domestic assault, criminal threatening and unlawful restraint. Investigators say Matott, 31, of Alburgh, abused his girlfriend for months, even threatening her while she was holding their infant.

Before working in Winooski, Matott was an officer in South Burlington from 2014-2017.

Court documents show that Matott's girlfriend says she told two South Burlington officers about being abused by their co-worker, Matott. Those officers are Kelsey Monroe and Cassandra Ellison, and they are still on the force.

Burke has launched an internal investigation into Monroe and Ellison because he says they should have reported the allegations against Matott.

"We do have a policy in the organization that is standard across many police organizations that if you have firsthand knowledge or witness a domestic violence incident that involves another police officer that you have a duty to report," Burke said.

The chief says depending on the outcome of the internal investigation, Monroe and Ellison could undergo retraining or face harsher penalties.

Right now, the officers are in fine standing on the force and there is no timetable on the length of the investigation.

Burke says he found out about this at the same time the public did on Thursday when the Vermont State Police report into Matott came out. He says he immediately opened the internal investigation.

Burke would not comment on the potential actions of the officers but said he hopes the investigation clears up what happened.

Burke was not the chief in South Burlington when this allegedly happened.

Matott is on unpaid administrative leave from the Winooski Police Department.