Sheriff Hodgson Says No Laws Broken as Feast Photo Goes Viral
NEW BEDFORD - A photograph showing Sheriff Thomas Hodgson at the 103rd Feast of the Blessed Sacrament in New Bedford on Sunday has gone viral.
The photograph shows Hodgson in a Bristol County Sheriff's Office polo shirt, holding a 7oz cup of Madeira wine, and openly carrying a firearm.
The Facebook page "Threw Up In Fall River Radio" shared the image Tuesday afternoon with part of the caption reading, "I would like to hear from the Bristol County District Attorney's Office on when they will be filing charges against....Thomas Hodgson. #PleaseShare until this monster is brought to justice, and he better be paying that $5 fee!!!"
The fee is a reference to a proposal from Sheriff Hodgson to impose a $5/day fee for inmates incarcerated in the Bristol County House of Correction to help offset imprisonment costs.
The post has been shared over 400 times.
WBSM talk show host Barry Richard reached Sheriff Hodgson via text Tuesday evening. Richard asked the sheriff if he violated any law or regulation.
"No, but it was simply a celebratory drink following the parade and we left after about 15 minutes," replied Hodgson.
Hodgson had marched in the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament parade on Sunday. He was accompanied by Bristol County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer, Jonathan Darling.
Sheriff Hodgson told Richard he was made aware of the photograph later that day.
"Following the parade Jonathan and I had a Medeira wine before leaving and wasn't thinking about my piece. That won't happen again!"
Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 269, Section 10H states that "Whoever, having in effect a license to carry firearms issued under section 131 or 131F of chapter 140, carries on his person, or has under his control in a vehicle, a loaded firearm, as defined in section 121 of said chapter 140, while under the influence of intoxicating liquor....shall be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000 or by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than two and one-half years, or by both such fine and imprisonment."
Intoxication by the State of Massachusetts is defined as having a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher.
Hodgson indicated to Richard he only had one cup of Madeira wine and left the feast shortly afterward.
Sheriff Thomas Hodgson later appeared on "The Barry Richard Show" on 1420 WBSM Wednesday afternoon to discuss the photograph.