On Tuesday, Massachusetts State Police officer Joseph Flynn and New Hampshire State Trooper Andrew Monaco were arrested for their roles in the May 11 beating of Richard Simone, Jr. after a high speed chase.
Two counts of simple assault are being brought against Flynn in New Hampshire, where the incident took place, and three counts of simple assault against Monaco. Although news reports are suggesting that “enhanced” penalties might be imposed on Flynn and Monaco because they were on duty when they committed the assault, the two have been released on personal recognizance bail of $2,000 and $3,000, respectively.
Their arraignment is scheduled for September 13. The officers’ arrests were announced by the office of the New Hampshire Attorney General.
The high speed chase began in Holden, Massachusetts, next to Worcester, when police there recognized Simone as someone with outstanding warrants. He fled in his pick-up truck, ending up in Nashua, New Hampshire, where he stopped the truck on a residential street.
Video of the arrest clearly shows Simone getting out of his truck, demonstrating that his hands were empty, and then getting down on his hands and knees. He is surrounded by eight cops, most with guns drawn, and one with a canine.
After Simone voluntarily gets on the ground, Flynn and Monaco rush in and punch him while other officers hold him down. According to court documents, he was hit 22 times.
Municipal police from Holden and Nashua were involved in the arrest, but none have been charged in the assault on Simone.
The May 11 event was filmed by helicopters from several area news outlets. As has become common across the United States, the police would have faced no consequences for their violence if video did not exist.
The Boston Globe quoted civil rights attorney Howard Friedman as saying that “they don’t bring criminal charges often in situations like this, but you looked at the video and there was no question that they were beating someone after [he] had given up.” Friedman went on to lament that such violence against surrendering suspects is “sadly common.”
News reports have not indicated whether Flynn and Monaco have military backgrounds, but the Worcester police department has instituted a policy of training National Guard veterans for civilian policing roles. The Massachusetts National Guard’s web site, www.thenationsfirst.org, boasted in May 2015 of “the Nation’s First Civilian Police Academy for Citizen-Soldiers.”
On May 1, 2015, 34 returning members of the Army Military Police and Air Force Security Forces were graduated from the program—which over a period of 16 weeks “enhanced” the training they’d received in the military.
The announcement of the graduation paraphrased Military Police Command Sergeant Major Richard Woodring as saying “this is the way we’re going. That this is a great concept, and they’re going to take this on the Active Duty side and say, hey, this is what they’re doing in Massachusetts.”