New Hampshire launches probe of police punching suspect after chase

Reuters News
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Posted: May 12, 2016 2:19 AM

BOSTON (Reuters) - New Hampshire and Massachusetts officials launched an investigation on Thursday into an incident captured on video, in which police officers beat a man after a high-speed chase that spanned both states.

A video obtained by Reuters and taken from a helicopter showed officers drawing their weapons on a truck they had just stopped. A man got out of the truck and dropped to his knees and then his stomach, before he was punched several times by at least two officers and handcuffed, the footage showed.

"The footage from yesterday raises serious concerns, and I have been in contact with the attorney general and the commissioner of safety," New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan said in a statement. "The attorney general's office has opened an investigation into the incident."

About an hour before the events in the video, police in Holden, Massachusetts, had tried to stop the suspect, Richard Simone, 50, who was wanted on several warrants.

Simone refused to stop, leading police on a chase that reached 100 mph (160 kph) and ended in Nashua, New Hampshire, officials said.

The use of excessive force by law enforcement has become the focus of national debates, particularly in light of the high-profile killings of African-Americans by mainly white officers over the last several years.

Citizen and officer videos of arrests and killings have heightened scrutiny of police behavior. Simone, along with many of the officers in the video, appeared to be white.

Massachusetts State Police officers were also involved in the chase and arrest, and that department will investigate their actions, said police spokesman David Procopio in an e-mail.

(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston and Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Bernadette Baum)