BOSTON (CBS) – After an I-Team exclusive that raised questions about two controversial arrests by the Salem, NH Police, sources say the FBI opened an investigation and the NH Attorney General’s Office said its Civil Rights Division was reviewing one of the arrests as well.
Now the NH AG’s office says it has widened its review of the department, telling town officials that Deputy Chief Robert Morin, Captain Michael Wagner and Sergeant Michael Verocchi are under criminal investigation.
The probe comes just months after the release of a town audit that specifically mentioned the WBZ I-Team on the controversial arrest of a youth hockey coach and a witness who was critical of the police.
The WBZ I-Team exclusively reported the incident at the hockey rink in December, 2017. Witnesses say police were called to the ICenter in Salem, NH after a contentious youth hockey game.
Coach Bob Andersen told WBZ he was acting as a peacekeeper, standing between two bickering parents, when police arrived and pushed him to the ground and tased him several times. Chris Albano was recording the incident on his iPhone.
Nearly six months after the incident Chris was arrested for assaulting a police officer that same night. A Salem police officer said after watching WBZ news report he recognized and remembered Chris hit his hand.
At the same time, the town commissioned an independent audit of the department. A redacted version released a few months ago found the department violated its own policies and has a negative culture that discourages citizens from coming forward with complaints.
The audit recommends a complete overhaul of the internal affairs process.
The town manager told the I-Team the officers are on paid administrative leave. The NH Attorney General told us the investigation is active and ongoing.
Bob Andersen’s attorney, Michael Delaney said, “We have maintained from the beginning that the Salem police used excessive force on Mr. Andersen when they stun-gunned him multiple times. He has been subjected to malicious prosecution. We are pleased that the public integrity unit of the Attorney General’s office and the FBI are now formally investigating certain Salem police department officials.”