Mass State Police soldier denounces job loss over vaccination warrant

The first mass state police soldier who received the ax over the state’s coronavirus vaccine mandate speaks out about the ‘humiliating’ experience and termination process.

Timothy Barry, 29, said he was still “in disbelief” after being pulled from a state police training course in late October and stripped of his police gear in front of around 40 comrades. He had not received a COVID-19 vaccine by the mid-October deadline.

The Marine Corps veteran, who was assigned to the Mounted State Police Unit, then became the first state to be recommended for dismissal.

“I was honored at the State Police Academy, and now being the only one recommended for dismissal, I really feel isolated,” Barry told the Herald this week.

Timothy Barry is a Marine Corps veteran. (Photo by Massachusetts State Police)

“I was incredulous,” he added. “It was my dream job to be a state soldier, and I have never shamed this organization. It is truly disappointing and heartbreaking.

The Quincy resident recounted his experience on Oct. 28 at State Police Academy in New Braintree.

Barry drove the two hours to the training class, then was “blinded” in front of the class. He had submitted a religious exemption for the vaccine but was in limbo, he said.

“I was taken out of a class of 30 to 40 people, and they didn’t try to quietly remove me,” Barry said. “I must have emptied my cruiser as the whole class looked at me, as if I had done something wrong.

“I had to return all my police tools,” he added. “It’s not like I’ve committed a domestic or violent crime. It was really overkill … It was humiliating.

He was removed from his post, placed on unpaid leave, and was later recommended for dismissal during the vax tenure.

Barry was in post for three years, first working on the roads as a soldier and then assigned to the mounted unit. Prior to that, he was a Bedford Police Officer for five years and is a Third Generation Law Enforcement Officer.

“Between my military years in the Marine Corps, as a local police officer and as a state trooper, I was never disciplined,” Barry said. “In an age when you want the police to be accountable, why is that why you are getting rid of quality soldiers?

“I worked hard to get here,” he added. “It’s something I’ve always wanted, and for an agency that wants to be the most elite in the state and the nation, why are you getting rid of good soldiers for it?” “

Barry has volunteered at Bedford VA for over half a decade and volunteered for the Special Olympics, with events like the Torch Run as a local police officer.

He taught religious education for five years and was a Eucharistic minister. He failed to secure a religious exemption for the vaccine. In an attempt to obtain the exemption, he appeared before a district court, made up of a state police captain and a lawyer.

“They are not priests,” Barry said. “They are not rabbis. It’s just two random people. A lot of these things just weren’t thought about.

He does not know of any religious exemption that has been accepted.

“Personally, I think forcing the vaccine and going against someone’s religious beliefs is a violation of your civil rights,” Barry said. “It violated my rights and many others.”

He said he would have complied with regular COVID testing.

“I definitely would have been okay with that,” Barry said.

A spokesperson for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security deferred comments to the mass state police on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the mass state police did not immediately respond to questions – including how many state police soldiers are threatened with dismissal for vax’s tenure, and whether the state is considering removing other states take training courses and strip them of their equipment.

“It’s just not right,” Barry said, later adding, “A real shame.”

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