AG: NH trooper to plead in beating
NASHUA – Former New Hampshire trooper Andrew Monaco is expected to plead guilty this week to charges of punching and kicking a driver who led police on a high-speed chase that began in Holden, Mass., and ended in Nashua, the state’s top law enforcer said Tuesday.
Monaco and Massachusetts State Police trooper Joseph Flynn turned themselves in to Nashua police last month on arrest warrants charging them with using excessive and unjustified force against Richard Simone Jr., of Worcester, Mass., during the May 11 traffic stop.
Monaco, 31, is expected to plead guilty to three counts of simple assault in Nashua district court on Aug. 25, New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster said.
Flynn, 32, faces two counts of simple assault in connection with the traffic stop. He waived his arraignment scheduled to be held in the Nashua court on Sept. 13.
Video taken by news outlets who filmed the scene by helicopter appeared to show an unarmed Simone submitting to arrest and attempting to place his hands on the ground when the two troopers rushed in and began punching and kicking him.
The simple assault charges brought against both troopers are Class A misdemeanors, which traditionally carry penalties of up to a year in a county jail and fines. However, the state Attorney General’s office said state law allows for enhanced penalties for offenses committed by on-duty law enforcers. Under this provision, the troopers could face two to five years in state prison if convicted.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell on Tuesday would not say if the state intends to seek enhanced penalties, noting that she cannot comment on the terms of the negotiated plea agreement prior to the hearing.
Monaco and Flynn were among nine officers – including Nashua and Holden police and state police from Massachusetts and New Hampshire – present when the high-speed chase ended on Brigham Street in Nashua.
One officer on scene told investigators he had his weapon drawn on Simone and believed the situation was under control when Monaco allegedly ran across his line of fire – forcing him to draw back his weapon, according to arrest warrant affidavits. Monaco rushed at Simone, punching him in the head with his fist as Simone was placing his hands on the ground, the affidavits allege.
The blow sent Simone to the pavement when, seconds later, Flynn allegedly punched him, court records say.
The two men delivered about 22 blows to Simone in the ensuing 20 seconds as another unidentified officer on scene yelled at them to go "easy," affidavits allege.
According to investigators, none of the other seven officers on scene said they ever saw a weapon at any time during the incident nor believed Simone was actively resisting arrest.
Police said Simone was wanted on warrants for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and larceny when he refused to stop his pickup truck for police in Holden, Mass., and led officers on a chase through Massachusetts into Hudson and Nashua. Police said he reached speeds of 100 miles per hour at some points before the pursuit ended.
Flynn has been suspended without pay since the incident, according to Massachusetts State Police.
Nashua Police Chief Andrew Lavoie said his department’s internal affairs division continues its review of how Nashua officers responded to the situation. Internal affairs investigators are waiting for final documents from the Attorney General’s office before they will turn the entire package over to Lavoie, who said he will review it and make a decision.
Lavoie said he is confident his officers acted according to their training and department policies based on what he has seen and heard to date and the fact that none were charged in connection with the traffic stop.
Kathryn Marchocki can be reached at 594-6589, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Tele-graph_KMar.