Authorities in New Hampshire said that they had arrested two state troopers and charged them with assault for their actions during a violent arrest captured on video earlier this year.
The arrest occurred after a long police chase that began in Massachusetts and ended in New Hampshire, after which at least two officers were seen on the video repeatedly punching the driver who had led the pursuit.
After video of the incident began to spread online, Joseph Foster, the New Hampshire attorney general, launched a criminal investigation into the episode. The New Hampshire State Police and Massachusetts State Police each pulled a trooper involved in the incident from duty while the investigation was carried out.
On Tuesday, Foster announced that the two troopers — Joseph Flynn, 32, of the Massachusetts State Police, and Andrew Monaco, 31, of the New Hampshire State Police — were arrested and charged with simple assault for their use of force during the arrest.
Flynn was charged with two counts of simple assault, while Monaco was charged with three counts of simple assault. Both were released on their own recognizance, Foster’s office said. It was not immediately clear if the two men had attorneys. Both are scheduled to be arraigned in September in Nashua.
Foster’s office said that because the two troopers were on-duty law enforcement officers during the incident, their charges could see an enhanced penalty.
Footage of the May 11 chase and arrest emerged during a time of increased scrutiny of how police officers use force, a debate that surged back into the national consciousness in recent weeks after officers shot and killed black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. This topic also involves anxieties faced by police after eight officers were fatally shot in Dallas and, this week, Baton Rouge — one by an attacker who specifically said he was enraged by police killings.
The car chase that stretched from Massachusetts to New Hampshire began when the Holden, Mass., police tried to stop a pickup truck driven by Richard Simone of Worcester, according to the Massachusetts State Police. Simone, 50, was the subject of warrants for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, larceny and failure to stop for officers, authorities said.
Police in Holden said that they first tried to stop the car because it was wanted in connection with an advisory issued by another department, and when the driver did not stop, they chased him. A Massachusetts state trooper soon joined them, the state police said, and the chase eventually moved into Hudson, a town in New Hampshire. At this point, New Hampshire’s state police and local police officers also joined the pursuit.
Video of the episode captured a pickup truck coming to a stop, after which more than half a dozen officers, one with a police dog, approach the car. The driver is seen getting out and then getting down on his knees and beginning to lie down on the street. At least two of the officers can then be seen in the footage repeatedly hitting the man as some of the other officers stand nearby.
The Massachusetts State Police said that Flynn remains suspended without pay, as he was not long after the chase involving Simone. An internal affairs investigation into the episode is still ongoing, a spokesman said Tuesday.
Col. Robert L. Quinn, director of the New Hampshire state police, called the incident “disturbing” during a news conference in May. He also said at the time that his agency had relieved the trooper from duty without pay.
“I want to ensure that the public knows that this will be fully investigated and we recognize the importance of the public trust,” Quinn said. “And the unnecessary, unjustified use of force will not be tolerated.”
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) said in May that the video footage raised “serious concerns,” and that authorities would “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.”
William Hinkle, a spokesman for Hassan, said in a statement Tuesday that she felt Foster “conducted a thorough investigation” into the incident.
This story, first published at 2:56 p.m., has been updated.