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Footage of officers after police chase prompts social media backlash

Some criticized officers who appeared to punch the man as he surrendered.
Fox 25/Livestream (Screenshot)

UPDATE: The two officers have been "relieved of duty" as investigations into their conduct begin.

A man who reportedly lead police on a multi-state chase through Massachusetts and New Hampshire was taken into police custody Wednesday afternoon, as footage of his apprehension spread on social media.

Richard Simone, 50, of Worcester, is known to police and the subject of several warrants, according to WBZ. Police told the network Simone refused to stop for officers around 4 p.m. in Holden, prompting the hour-long chase.

Local authorities, with Massachusetts State Policealso in pursuit, were reportedly able to stop Simone in Nashua, New Hampshire, when two tires blew out on his gray pickup truck and he surrendered.

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The chase, broadcast online by a number of news networks, ended just after 5 p.m. Video of the chase appears to capture Simone showing officers his hands, exiting the disabled vehicle and kneeling on the ground. Officers slowly approach him with their guns drawn.

As Simone began to get on his hands and knees, one officer appears to punch him in the head. Another comes from behind. The officers are seen repeatedly punching or kicking the driver while he lays on the ground.He’s later seen lead away by police.

And from another angle:

Footage of the violent apprehension prompted some concern on social media and from other law enforcement professionals, who felt the suspect made his intention to surrender clear when exiting the truck, and that he should not have been punched by responding officers.

Former Boston Police SuperintendentDaniel Linskey told Fox 25, that it "appeared the man was surrendering."

"I gotta tell you: video doesn't show everything, and there's gonna need to be an independent investigation here, but the officers are going to have to explain why they needed to use that force. Because nothing I saw on video indicated a need for force."

"Maybe they thought he reached for his waist, or there was something...there that I didn't see," he added.

Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis told WBZ that the man appeared to be "complying with the officers' orders."

"Until they start to move very close to him, there doesn’t appear to be a problem,” Davis told the network, where he also works as a security analyst. “What happened in those last seconds is going to be crucial to this investigation. But clearly, this is a tough video.”

But others said that they’d withhold judgment until more official information was available — or thought Simone deserved it regardless.

"The pursuit, like all pursuits that involve Massachusetts State Police, will be reviewed by the department's pursuit committee," Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio told reporters in a statement. "Additionally, MSP will also review the apprehension of the suspect, to determine whether the level of force deployed during the arrest was appropriate."

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan also called for a full investigation of the chase.

 
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