Battenfeld: Case of state police superintendent’s son shrouded in secrecy

The case of the son of State Police Superintendent Col. Christopher Mason — facing possible weapons charges — is shrouded in secrecy, with officials making the unusual decision to put a lid on even the police incident report.

Only late Wednesday did the clerk magistrate of Barnstable reverse his initial decision to keep the hearing closed to the public. What an embarrassment.

But still no police incident report — the clerk magistrate says it would be “premature” to release it even though incident reports are routinely made public.

“Any request for a police report is denied, as it is premature at this time,” Magistrate Chuck Ardito wrote in an email to the Boston Herald and other media.

Col. Mason may have done nothing wrong but we don’t know. The fact that he won’t address the issue should be enough to warrant some action.

But State Police, Barnstable Police, the DA’s office and the governor’s office have refused to report any details of the case of Reid Mason, a Cape Cod firefighter. The DA and police won’t even name him.

So much for alleged police reform and accountability.

Reid Mason was reportedly found drunk in his car on Feb. 28 with four unloaded guns after a day on the shooting range and at a Hyannis restaurant. It’s illegal in Massachusetts to have firearms in cars when they are not under control of the person owning the guns. If reports about Reid Mason are true, the magistrate could decide that Mason did not have control over his four weapons.

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But Barnstable Police held off issuing a report on the incident to Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe until days after it happened.

O’Keefe later issued a statement, saying, “Until and unless (a hearing) occurs, it is inappropriate for my office to identify the subject.”

So we’ll have to wait until later this month for the magistrate hearing to learn any details about the case.

The incident was first reported weeks ago by the blogger Turtleboy.

There is no evidence that Col. Mason did anything improper, but we won’t know that for sure until more details of the case come out. For now there’s just rumors and speculation the police and the DA are trying to bury the case.

Opening up the hearing to the public is a good first step but it took pressure from the media to get that done. The initial decision was to keep the hearing closed.

Col. Mason has led the state police force since 2019, and previously worked in O’Keefe’s office. Mason has presided over numerous scandals in the department, including illegal abuse of overtime. But Gov. Charlie Baker has kept him at his post.