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Seabrook, NH Police Officer On Unpaid Leave After Assault Indictment

By Michael Rosenfield, WBZ-TV New Hampshire Bureau Chief
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SEABROOK, NH (CBS) – The Seabrook police officer seen man-handling a teenager on video that went viral is now facing criminal charges and town officials say he’ll move from paid leave to unpaid leave.

Mark Richardson has been indicted for assault.

“I think it’s unfortunate anytime that you have something like this happen,” said Town Manager William Manzi III. “It’s something we all wish had not happened.”

Town leaders met for an emergency meeting Friday after the indictment.

They say the other two officers seen in the video – who are not facing criminal charges – will remain on paid leave for now.

The police chief is still bothered by the video.

“As the chief, all I can say — disturbing,” said police Chief Lee Bitmoske.

The victim in the video was 19 years old at the time. Mike Bergeron was being held on drunken driving and drug charges.

He posted the video in January, more than four years after the incident, which set in motion the criminal and internal investigation.

A private company has been hired to conduct the internal investigation to determine if any department rules were violated. That probe will determine which of the officers, if any, lose their jobs.

Because Richardson was on duty at the time, he faces an enhanced penalty of up to five years in prison if convicted.

He’s expected to be arraigned in two weeks.

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