BROOKLINE (CBS) - It's a road rage case with an unusual legal twist. Former Boston Police officer David Cataldo was caught on camera in a fight with a Brookline mom and her 15-year-old son. Then, Cataldo took legal action against his own alleged victims. "We just can't believe being the innocent victims…that this man could abuse his power and turn and say that, us, we're the criminals," said Priscilla Rodas.
When it happened eight months ago, Cataldo had just retired from the police force, and had taken a job as a college security officer. He accused Rodas of cutting him off in her minivan on Brookline Avenue, with her teenager in the passenger seat. "He was banging on the window so hard we thought it was going to break," said Rodas.
"Then he comes forward so we get into a scuffle," said her son Enrique Rodas.
"He hit me in my left eye and broke my orbital bone," said his mother.
Her voice can be heard on the 911 call from that night. "I just got struck by a man. He hit me in the face." The dispatcher asked, "Are you hurt?" "Yes I am," she responded.
Based on video from four cameras on a nearby MBTA bus, the police report says, "It was Mr. Cataldo who came around the vehicle and accosted Mr. Rodas…Mr. Cataldo being the aggressor…"
But Cataldo found a way to turn the tables, taking advantage of a little-known provision in Massachusetts law allowing citizens to press criminal charges. He convinced a clerk magistrate to sign off on charges against the Rodases, resulting in both sides now facing prosecution.
A spokesperson for the Norfolk District Attorney tells WBZ the video substantiates the charges against Priscilla Rodas. She now has a defense attorney. "We have a victim who's forced to be a defendant and that's not right," said Brooks Ames, with the Brookline Justice League, which has taken up Rodas' case.
Thursday, Cataldo had a chance to plead to a continuance without a finding. That could have led to his charge being dismissed, but he refused to admit fault. Instead, a motion to dismiss hearing is scheduled for later this summer.
for more features.