FALL RIVER (WBSM) —  A Former Fall River police officer has been sentenced to prison for use of excessive force on an arrested man.

Michael Pessoa, 44, was sentenced to one and a half years to three years in state prison with a year of probation following his release.

According to the Bristol County District Attorney's Office, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recommended a four to five year prison sentence.

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Pessoa was convicted by a jury in May of 2023 on the charges of assault and battery, civil rights violations, witness intimidation and filing false reports against the defendant, Fall River resident David LaFrance.

The incident occurred in February 2019, when officers received a call from LaFrance's residence on South Main Street of a report about a neighbor dispute.

According to video footage shown during the trial, LaFrance was about to be uncuffed and released without any charges when he and Pessoa exchanged insults.

Pessoa then brought LaFrance to the ground and struck him in the face with a closed fist. He then proceeded to lunge at LaFrance, tackling him to the ground again.

The D.A.'s Office also said Pessoa failed to file a "use of force" report.

Pessoa was then indicted in June 2019 and suspended without pay. He was officially teminated in January 2022.

Pessoa was also indicted on three separate cases occurring in 2014, 2018 and 2019.  One of these cases was dismissed.

The D.A's Office said it will be pursuing the other two cases.

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