-- Both Massachusetts and New Hampshire State Police announced today that one of their respective troopers has been relieved of duty amid the states' separate investigations of the use of force by police of a man who allegedly led police on a dramatic car chase from Massachusetts into New Hampshire Wednesday.
The unnamed New Hampshire trooper has been relieved without pay in response to the incident, a spokesman for the N.H. State Police announced today at a news conference in Concord.
“The New Hampshire State Police does not condone the unauthorized use of force,” he said, adding that “the public trust must never be compromised.”
Massachusetts State Police made a similar announcement later, saying, the "actions taken by a trooper from our department and other officers involved in yesterday’s apprehension of suspect Richard Simone in Nashua, N.H. –- as those actions appear in news footage of the arrest -– are, upon initial review, disturbing."
The statement added: "We have identified the trooper involved in the arrest, and this afternoon we relieved him of duty pending an internal hearing scheduled for tomorrow." He has not been publicly named.
Video of the incident, which aired live on several local TV stations, ended with Richard Simone, 50, of Worcester, Massachusetts, appearing to surrender by dropping to all fours before being surrounded by five troopers, some of whom are seen on tape appearing to beat him.
Not all the troopers appear to hit Simone, but at least three can be seen contributing to the barrage of vigorous punches to his upper and lower body.
Jeff Strelzin of the New Hampshire attorney general’s office said Simone received medical treatment, according to ABC Manchester, New Hampshire, affiliate WMUR-TV.
"The footage from yesterday raises serious concerns, and I have been in contact with the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Safety,” New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan said in a statement today.
“All New Hampshire public safety officials are held to the highest standards, and it is important and appropriate that the Attorney General's office has opened an investigation into the incident.”
"New Hampshire has a rich history of community policing where law enforcement members have strong, collaborative relationships with the communities in which they serve. We must treat this incident with the utmost seriousness without disparaging all of the hard-working police officers who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe."
N.H. Attorney General Joseph A. Foster added that his office has "commenced a criminal investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding yesterday's arrest of Richard Simone Jr. in Nashua, New Hampshire, to determine if the force utilized by any of the police officers violated any provisions of the criminal code."
It’s unclear in the video which state each trooper is from, but officials are working to sort out names and identities by analyzing video captured by at least three news helicopters.
Massachusetts police had attempted to pull Simone over in Holden, Massachusetts, when he sped away, driving for over an hour at speeds reaching 100 mph, authorities say.
It's unclear why police were attempting to pull him over.
In addition to the New Hampshire investigation, Massachusetts State Police announced they will be conducting two separate reviews of the incident, one of the 42-mile chase itself, and another of the actions by police that followed it.
Simone was expected to face charges today in Nashua, New Hampshire, in connection with the pursuit, of being a fugitive from justice, authorities said.
Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio said the extradition process to return him to Massachusetts will likely begin in Nashua.