The confrontation was captured by a security camera inside the sally port of the Merrimack House of Corrections.
The tape shows Officer Daniel Ball removing a handcuffed Chris Smith from the back seat of a police cruiser. It appears Smith says something, and then the officer pushes him up against a concrete wall, then appears to spin him and throw him and smash him against a police cruiser and onto the floor.
WBZ-TV’s Peg Rusconi reports.
The video shows Smith lying on the ground as nurses and an ambulance respond, before Smith is ultimately led into the jail.
Smith’s attorney Rick Lehmann calls it police brutality.
“I’m sure it’s not unusual for people to be a little bit hostile, but Chris Smith weighs about 140 pounds, has his hands cuffed behind his back,” said Lehmann. “Officer Ball weighs about 240, he said when he testified, and there’s no reasonable basis for him to treat my client the way he did. It’s completely ridiculous.”
Smith had been taken into custody after an argument with his girlfriend, for which no charges were filed. Lehmann says Smith was charged with resisting arrest and with criminal mischief for denting the cruiser with his head.
Lehmann says a judge found Smith guilty of resisting, but threw out the mischief charge.
“The video is tough to look at on face value, but there is a lot more to it than what the video is showing,” said Boscawen Police Chief Kevin Wyman.
Wyman was not chief at the time of the incident. Wyman says an internal investigation found Ball did nothing wrong. He says officers are trained to respond aggressively to any resistance. And a judge did find Smith guilty of resisting arrest.
Due to the pending lawsuit, Wyman declined to comment on whether he thinks the force was excessive. Asked if he understands how it may be hard for many to understand how a slightly built handcuffed man poses a threat to a much larger officer, Wyman responded, “Absolutely, and I mean, as I said, the video doesn’t look good, but there’s a lot more there and that’s going to come out when case goes to trial.”
Officer Daniel Ball has since joined another police department. WBZ left a message for him that was not returned.