Former NH trooper pleads guilty

NASHUA – A former New Hampshire state trooper pleaded guilty Thursday to repeatedly punching and kneeing a driver as he lay on the ground in a scene that drew national attention when captured on video by news crews in helicopters.

In a negotiated plea agreement reached with the state, Andrew Monaco, 31, admitted to three counts of misdemeanor simple assault for using excessive and unjustified force against Richard Simone Jr., during the May 11 traffic stop.

Since Monaco was an on-duty state trooper at the time of the incident, the charges carried enhanced penalties of two to five years in state prison. Typically, Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in county jail and fines.

Simone, 50 , of Worcester, Mass., led police on a 50-mile, high-speed chase through Central Massachusetts into Hudson and Nashua where police stopped him on Brigham Street back in May.
An unarmed Simone complied with police commands to get out of his pickup truck and got on his knees and was placing his hands on the ground when Monaco, 31, and Massachusetts State Police trooper Joseph Flynn, 32, rushed forward and began assaulting Simone, police allege in court documents.

The videotape appears to show the two troopers delivered about 22 blows in 20 seconds while one officer on scene yelled for them to go "easy," court documents show. Monaco appears to have punched and drove his knee into Simone’s torso about 14 times.

Simone suffered a torn ear that required three stitches; bruises to his back, eyes, upper right arm; and a lump on the lower portion of his head, court records showed. His medical records revealed he was diagnosed with possible post-concussive syndrome, the police affidavit 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 high-speed chase that police said reached speeds of 100 miles per hour at times. The pursuit ended on Brigham Street when he was nine officers in about six cruisers stopped and surrounded him, the affidavit said.

Both Monaco and Flynn were immediately placed on leave after the assault, court documents show. Both turned themselves into Nashua police on arrest warrants on July 19. Monaco no longer is a state trooper.

Flynn is charged with two counts of misdemeanor simple assault and, if convicted, could face enhanced penalties of two to five years in state prison. Flynn is suspended without pay but is still a troopers with the Massachusetts State Police, officials said. Flynn waived arraigned and a hearing on his case is set for mid-October. His attorney, Richard Caron of Manchester, did not return calls for comment.