SALEM, NH (CBS) – A Salem, NH police officer has been arrested and charged with a felony as part of an Attorney General’s investigation into the department. The investigation started after the I-Team raised questions about two controversial arrests.
Sgt. Michael Verrocchi was charged Wednesday with a felony count of reckless conduct with a deadly weapon and disobeying a police officer. Prosecutors say the charges stem from an incident in 2012. The complaint alleges Verrocchi led his own department on a two mile high speed chase, ran a red light and avoided spike strips.
The Attorney General’s Office began its probe into Verrocchi, Captain Michael Wagner and Deputy Chief Robert Morin months after a town audit which specifically mentioned an I-Team report on the controversial arrests of a youth hockey coach and a witness in the case.
The coach, Bob Andersen, told the I-Team he was acting as a peacekeeper when Salem Police pushed him to the ground and tased him several times.
Chris Albano recorded the incident on his phone. Six months later, a Salem Police officer said after watching the I-Team report he recognized and remembered Albano hit his hand and arrested him. Albano said in his case, prosecutors dropped the charge of assaulting a police officer.
Salem Police said Wagner and Verrocchi are on paid administrative leave.
“The Salem Police Department continues to cooperate fully with Attorney General MacDonald’s office,” Salem Deputy Police Chief Joel Dolan said. “Our agency is committed to transparency, legitimacy and to the highest standards of modern municipal policing.”