State Troopers in NH, MA relieved of duty following police chase

NASHUA, N.H (WHDH) - The New Hampshire State Trooper involved in the capture of a suspect following a police chase Wednesday has been relieved of duty following the events surrounding the incident.

According to State Police Director Col. Robert Quinn, the incident is under “thorough internal investigation.”

“The events of Wednesday evening are disturbing,” Quinn said in a statement. “However, we will not know the complete facts and circumstances surrounding this event until the investigation by an independent agency is concluded. Nonetheless, the New Hampshire State Trooper involved in this incident was immediately relieved of duty and the New Hampshire State Police will conduct a thorough internal investigation and will cooperate fully with the criminal investigation being conducted by the Office of the New Hampshire Attorney General.”

Additionally, a statement from the superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, Colonel Richard D. McKeon, says that the Commonwealth will also be opening an Internal Affairs investigation and suspending the Trooper involved in the incident.

“The actions taken by a trooper and other officers involved in yesterday’s apprehension of suspect Richard Simone in Nashua, N.H. – as those actions appear in news footage of the arrest – are, upon initial review, disturbing,” McKeon said.

“Early this morning I directed my senior commanders to open an Internal Affairs investigation into the actions of our personnel who were present at the arrest, which followed a lengthy motor vehicle pursuit….We have identified the trooper involved in the arrest, and this afternoon we relieved him of duty pending an internal hearing scheduled for tomorrow.”

A man was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon after allegedly leading police on a high-speed chase that ended in Nashua, New Hampshire.

The chase started in Holden, Massachusetts when police tried to pull over 50-year-old Richard Simone of Worcester.

Police said Simone had several outstanding warrants for larceny, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and failure to stop.

Simone drove down Route 190 northbound and then onto Route 117 in Lancaster. He then returned to Route 190. The chase proceeded onto Route 2 in Leominster and then went on to Route 495 north in Littleton. He continued to make erratic turns to evade capture.

Simone took off in a gray pickup truck and police said he led them on an hour-long chase that ended in Nashua, New Hampshire.

State Police from Massachusetts and New Hampshire said they tried to get Simone to stop or pull over but he kept driving. At one point, he lost the two back tires off his truck.

After the chase, Simone opened his door, got on his knees with his hands up and then got on the ground, appearing to surrender. Officers could then be seen swarming Simone and throwing punches while he was on the ground.

“It was very shocking, to say the least,” said Simone’s sister. “Disturbing to see that and to see when someone willing gets out of the vehicle, goes to their knees, flat out on their stomach, their hands out, very shocking.”

Watch the dramatic end to the chase here.

Full statement from New Hampshire State Police Director:

“The events of Wednesday evening are disturbing. However, we will not know the complete facts and circumstances surrounding this event until the investigation by an independent agency is concluded. Nonetheless, the New Hampshire State Trooper involved in this incident was immediately relieved from duty and the New Hampshire State Police will conduct a thorough internal investigation and will cooperate fully with the criminal investigation being conducted by the Office of the New Hampshire Attorney General. I want the public and law enforcement personnel to know that the Division of State Police does not condone the unjustified use of force and it will not be tolerated. The core values of our state troopers are fairness, professionalism and integrity. The men and women of the State Police have been and will continue to be held to the highest standards. The State Police have been entrusted with the authority to ensure the safety of the public. I recognize that the failure to hold law enforcement responsible for their actions erodes the public trust in that authority. To that end, the public trust must never be compromised and I assure that any wrongdoing will be dealt with in full compliance of the law and our professional standards of conduct.”

Statement from Massachusetts State Police:

Our standard review of the pursuit itself, by our departmental Pursuit Review Committee, to ensure that it adhered to our departmental pursuit policy. We have a rigorous policy that governs how and when pursuits may be authorized and what criteria must be met for the pursuit to be allowed to continue. The policy also establishes guidelines for terminating pursuits.

We will conduct a separate departmental review of the actual apprehension, as the video captured by news helicopters shows a use of force against the suspect. This review will investigate whether the level of force used was appropriate given the totality of the circumstances.

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan released statement on Thursday:

“The footage from yesterday raises serious concerns, and I have been in contact with the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Safety. All New Hampshire public safety officials are held to the highest standards, and it is important and appropriate that the Attorney General’s office has opened an investigation into the incident.”

“New Hampshire has a rich history of community policing where law enforcement members have strong, collaborative relationships with the communities in which they serve. We must treat this incident with the utmost seriousness without disparaging all of the hard-working police officers who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe.”

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