January 9

U.S. attorney, FBI join investigation of N.H. cops

Three Seabrook officers have been put on administrative leave after a video surfaces that shows them slamming a suspect into a wall.

The Associated Press

SEABROOK, N.H. — The town manager in Seabrook has released the names of three police officers suspended after a video surfaced showing a suspect being slammed into a wall at the police station more than four years ago.

click image to enlarge

A screen image from video posted on YouTube.

Town Manager Bill Manzi said the officers identified in the Nov. 11, 2009, video are Keith Dietenhofer, Mark Richardson and Adam Laurent. They are on paid administrative leave.

Police Chief Lee Bitomske said each officer has six to 12 years of experience as patrolmen.

The U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI have joined the state attorney general’s investigation of the incident.

The police report from that day says then-19-year-old Michael Bergeron, arrested on misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and possessing drugs, was struggling and being uncooperative.

Laurent said in the report that Bergeron was “an emotional roller coaster” as he was being booked, one minute happy, the next making derogatory comments to officers. He said Bergeron refused to walk back to his jail cell and that “Richardson appeared to perform an arm bar” on Bergeron. He said Bergeron fell to the floor, then stood up with Richardson’s help before falling down again and starting to crawl.

“Due to Bergeron’s prior spitting and failure to comply to anyone’s order as he was on an emotional roller coaster, I pepper-sprayed him as he looked back at us in the hallway,” Laurent wrote.

Bergeron’s attorney, Scott Gleason, told WMUR-TV (http://bit.ly/1e6Pm1C ) that the video and police reports “don’t square up.” He said he’s concerned that what he saw in the video was not in the police report.

“The police reports don’t necessarily mention the level of force that was used,” Gleason said.

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