A man wanted on several felony warrants led police from two states on an hourlong chase Wednesday before he was taken into custody. The chase was shown live by several news helicopters, and controversial videos show several officers jumping on the suspect and hitting him at the end of the chase.
Richard Simone, 50, of Worcester, Massachusetts, was wanted for refusing to stop for police in Holden, Massachusetts, the Associated Press reports. He had open warrants for assault and battery with a deadly weapon and larceny, police said.
The chase and arrest involved the Massachusetts State Police, New Hampshire State Police and Nashua Police.
A New Hampshire state trooper and a Massachusetts trooper were both suspended Thursday pending internal investigations into their roles in the incident, officials said. Their names haven’t been made public.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Chase Reached Speeds up to 100 MPH as It Crossed Through Several Towns in 2 States
The chase began at about 4 p.m. in Holden, Massachusetts, when Richard Simone failed to stop when officers tried to pull him over, WCVB-TV reports.
The pursuit, which reached speeds up to 100 mph, wound through several towns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, including Concord, Littleton, Chelmsford, Billerica, Nashua and Hudson.
Simone’s truck struck a police vehicle during the chase, and at one point, officers performed a pit manuever, hitting the back of his truck and causing him to hit a telephone pole. The pickup truck was damaged, and had at least one flat tire, but Simone continued on, police said.
He eventually came to a stop in a dead-end.
2. The Videos Show Several Officers Striking Simone as He Appears to Surrender
— Liam Martin (@LiamWBZ) May 11, 2016
Videos recorded by news helicopters following the chase immediately raised questions about whether the officers making the arrest used excessive force.
Simone can be seen with has his hands up and is starting to get down on the ground when several officers approach with their guns drawn and jump on him, hitting him several times.
He appears to be surrendering, while officers continue to strike him.
The chase involved the Massachusetts State Police, New Hampshire State Police and Nashua Police. The Massachusetts troopers are wearing light blue, the New Hampshire troopers are in green and the Nashua officers are in dark blue in the videos above and below:
Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, now a security analyst, told WBZ-TV that the officers’ actions appeared to be “questionable.”
“It does appear that he’s complying with the officers’ orders. Until they start to move very close to him, there doesn’t appear to be a problem,” Davis told WBZ. “What happened in those last seconds is going to be crucial to this investigation. But clearly, this is a tough video.”
3. He Was Taken to the Hospital After the Arrest but Was Not Seriously Injured, Police Say
Officers eventually handcuffed Simone and lifted him off the ground, walking him to a nearby Nashua Police vehicle.
Simone was then taken to a local hospital to be treated for minor injuries, police told WFXT-TV.
His mugshot shows a cut near his ear.
“The force used at the time the suspect appeared to be surrendering was significant,” Gilles Bissonnette, legal director for the New Hampshire chapter of the ACLU, told the Union Leader. “We expect that there will be a thorough independent investigation to determine whether the force used was reasonable and proportional.”
Simone’s sister told WHDH-TV, “It was very shocking, to say the least. Disturbing to see that and to see when someone willing gets out of the vehicle, goes to their knees, flat out on their stomach, their hands out, very shocking.”
4. He Waived an Extradition Hearing & Will Head Back to Massachusetts to Face Charges
Simone appeared in court in New Hampshire on Thursday and waived an extradition hearing, WMUR-TV reports.
He was held without bail and will now be returned to Massachusetts to face charges related to the chase and the open warrants.
5. Massachusetts & New Hampshire Officials Say They Will Investigate Whether Excessive Force Was Used
— Blair Miller (@BlairMillerTV) May 11, 2016
Officials in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts have launched investigations into the arrest.
The Massachusetts State Police released a statement:
Our standard review of the pursuit itself, by our departmental Pursuit Review Committee, to ensure that it adhered to our departmental pursuit policy. We have a rigorous policy that governs how and when pursuits may be authorized and what criteria must be met for the pursuit to be allowed to continue. The policy also establishes guidelines for terminating pursuits.
We will conduct a separate departmental review of the actual apprehension, as the video captured by news helicopters shows a use of force against the suspect. This review will investigate whether the level of force used was appropriate given the totality of the circumstances.
New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan said in a statement, “The footage from yesterday raises serious concerns. All New Hampshire public safety officials are held to the highest standards and it is important and appropriate that the Attorney General’s office has opened an investigation into the incident.”
The New Hampshire Attorney General, Jeffrey Strelzin, told the Union Leader on Thursday that his office will be investigating, but did not provide further details.