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Driver indicted for alleged bus brawl

By Dean Shalhoup - Senior Staff Writer | Nov 28, 2019

NASHUA – Emanuel Perez, 25, of Milford, faces a felony assault charge for allegedly strangling a police officer during a chaotic melee that unfolded after a Sept. 16 school bus crash on Tinker Road.

A grand jury handed up two indictments against Perez, who is accused of strangling and otherwise assaulting a police officer at the scene of a minor crash involving a school bus and two cars.

The indictments are among those handed up this week by the November grand jury for Hillsborough County Superior Court-South. They state that Perez is charged with one count each of second-degree assault – strangulation, a Class B felony that carries an extended-term prison sentence of up to 30 years in State Prison, and simple assault, a Class A misdemeanor that carries an extended term sentence of two to five years.

The felony indictment accuses Perez of “knowingly engaging in the strangulation of Officer Alexander Mann by applying pressure to his neck, causing him to experience impeded blood circulation.”

Perez, the driver of one of the two cars involved in the Sept. 16 crash on Tinker Road near Adella Drive, was one of four people arrested at the scene after a melee in which the group allegedly began shouting at police for reasons that aren’t fully clear.

Police said Perez and the other three people – Nashua residents Ivan Perez-Garcia, 36, Ricardo Perez, 31, and Lauren Benuck, 26 – allegedly “grew uncooperative” with officers during their investigation. They allegedly stood in the road and began shouting at the officers, and allegedly refused orders to get out of the road.

When the confrontation turned physical, police said Mann, the officer who was injured, was in the process of taking Ricardo Perez into custody when Emanuel Perez allegedly climbed onto Mann’s back and wrapped his right arm around Mann’s neck, impeding Mann’s breathing and blood flow, according to the reports.

Mann “thought he was ‘blacking out’ … he felt the blood flow was being cut off to his brain … within a matter of seconds (Mann) felt his body go limp and he started to drift out of consciousness,” the reports state.

Another officer, seeing Mann in distress, punched Perez twice in the face, which “ultimately freed” Mann from Perez’s grasp.

Several Nashua firefighters, along with a tow truck operator, who responded to the crash told police they intervened when they realized the three officers were outnumbered and “having a difficult time (taking) the four individuals into custody,” according to the reports.

The indictments state that in addition to allegedly strangling Mann, Emanuel Perez allegedly caused Mann to suffer a separated shoulder.

Whether the police investigation will lead to charges being filed against any of the other three suspects isn’t known.

Nashua attorney Charles Keefe, who is representing Emanuel Perez, recently filed two motions on behalf of his client, one of which asks the court to preserve, and promptly turn over to the defense, a video of the incident that Ivan Perez-Garcia captured on his phone.

The other, titled “protective order re: medical records,” reflects an agreement by the parties regarding copies of “the victim’s medical records,” presumably referring to Mann.

According to the order, which Judge Jacalyn Colburn approved, the prosecution shall produce a copy of the medical records to defense counsel, with the understanding that the records “will only be reviewed by counsel for the defense or members of the defense team,” and “will not be reproduced for anyone” other than defense lawyers.”

The agreement also allows defense counsel “to review these records” with Perez, but he “shall not be provided a copy of the records.”

Perez, who remains free on bail, is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictments on Dec. 5 in the Nashua court.

Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256, or at dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com.

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