Two police officers seemingly seen on video repeatedly punching a surrendering suspect after a police chase Wednesday were relieved from duty pending an investigation into their behavior at the scene, according to their respective departments.
One officer from each the New Hampshire and Massachusetts State Police departments were under investigation, according to their departments. Their names will reportedly not be released at this time, as the investigation is ongoing.
The New Hampshire attorney general's office also reportedly announced it would conduct a criminal investigation into the violent arrest.
One New Hampshire officer was “immediately relieved from duty,” a statement from the department read, calling Wednesday’s arrest “disturbing” but also cautioning observers to withhold judgment until their investigation into the arrest was complete.
“New Hampshire State Police will conduct a thorough internal investigation and will cooperate fully with the criminal investigation being conducted by the office of the New Hampshire attorney general,” the statement from State Police Director Col. Robert Quinn said. “I want the public and law enforcement personnel to know that the division of State Police does not condone the unjustified use of force and it will not be tolerated. The core values of our state troopers are fairness, professionalism and integrity.”
“I recognize that the failure to hold law enforcement responsible for their actions erodes the public trust in that authority,” the statement concludes. “To that end, the public trust must never be compromised and I assure that any wrongdoing will be dealt with in full compliance of the law and our professional standards of conduct.”
A representative for the Massachusetts State Police told Fox 25 that the department would conduct its own investigation into officer behavior at the scene, and that the officer was relieved of duty until Friday, when he'll face an internal review to determine whether he can continue to serve on modified duty as the investigation proceeds.
The driver in the chase, Richard Simone, 50, of Worcester, allegedly tried to drive into a police officer’s cruiser in Millbury, Massachusetts, on Sunday and was being sought by police on a warrant related to that incident, according to MassLive. Simone is reportedly being held without bail until he can be transported back to Massachusetts, where he faces charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and fleeing from police.
After Wednesday’s chase, Simone also faces charges of negligent driving, assault with a dangerous weapon and failure to stop for police along with four other motor vehicle violations, according to the report.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker echoed the calls of New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, pledging interstate cooperation as both state police departments investigated the circumstances of the chase, which started in Hudson, Massachusetts, and ended in Nashua, New Hampshire.
“I thought the video was incredibly disturbing,” Baker told CBS Boston. “We want to cooperate and collaborate in whatever way we can to make sure that this investigation in New Hampshire goes forward.”