NH officials demand investigation into police pursuit arrest
New Hampshire's governor is calling for a full investigation into the use of force by police after video surfaced of officers appearing to pummel a suspect who had led them on a high-speed chase from Massachusetts to New Hampshire.
News helicopter video of the police pursuit Wednesday showed Richard Simone, of Worcester, Massachusetts, stepping slowly out of his truck, kneeling and putting his hands on the ground before several officers rushed him.
"The Governor is aware of the situation and we've reached out to the Departments of Safety and Justice," said Ricki Eshman, a spokeswoman for New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan. "All New Hampshire public safety officials are held to the highest standards, and the Governor expects this will be full investigated," the statement said.
While the driver was taken into custody in New Hampshire, Massachusetts State Police were also involved in the pursuit and plan to review the apprehension of the suspect, "to determine whether the level of force deployed during the arrest was appropriate," said David Procopio, a state police spokesman.
The chase began when Simone, 50, refused to stop for local police in Holden, Massachusetts. He was wanted on multiple warrants for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, larceny and failure to stop for police, Procopio said in a statement.
Holden police chased him, and a Massachusetts State Police cruiser followed.
"We saw about 15 out of state cops, state police and some from Holden, Mass., chasing a pickup," witness Monty Hays told WMUR-TV.
The chase went through several towns at speeds exceeding 100 mph, with the pickup truck "making abrupt lane changes as the (suspect) continued to try to evade capture" and crashing at least once, Procopio said.
But spike strips laid out by police eventually took their toll. In Nashua, where the chase ended in a residential neighborhood, witnesses said the truck was barely pushing the speed limit.
"Its tires they just were exploded," Hays told the television station. "They were on rims. Rubber was flying everywhere."
The pursuit lasted about an hour, ending about 50 miles northeast of where it began.
Helicopter video showed the pickup truck stopped next to a utility pole on a dead-end street before police officers surrounded it with their weapons drawn. The driver stepped from the truck, got onto the ground and was on all fours and lowering himself when the officers set upon him, throwing punches.
Simone was taken into custody by Nashua police, who haven't returned phone calls seeking comment on the chase and Simone's treatment.
Simone couldn't be reached for comment while in custody Wednesday night. A phone number listed for him has been disconnected.
Massachusetts State Police said Simone will face new charges related to the chase. It's unclear where and when he'll be arraigned, but it will likely be in New Hampshire first.
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