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NH Attorney General to investigate video of police punching suspect

A Worcester man wanted on warrants, including one for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, led police on a chase Wednesday that ended in Nashua, New Hampshire, where officers punched the suspect after he exited a vehicle and appeared to surrender.

The violent moment was captured on video by broadcast station helicopters that had been following the pursuit, including Boston’s 7News:

Fox25 News, also out of Boston, caught a different angle of the apprehension:

In the footage, a man, identified by Massachusetts State Police as 50-year-old Richard Simone, slowly exits a pickup truck while officers approach, guns drawn. As Simone appears to lay down on the ground, the officers rush toward him, with at least two starting to strike him. It is unclear at this time which departments the officers in the video represent.

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New Hampshire’s Attorney General’s office said they will investigate the incident, according to senior assistant Attorney General Jeffery A. Strelzin.

“Our office will be conducting a criminal investigation to determine what force was used, by whom, and whether it was appropriate under the law,” he said.

Mass. State Police said in a statement Wednesday evening that they will review their own involvement in the pursuit, as is standard protocol, and the apprehension of Simone, to determine “whether the level of force used was appropriate given the totality of the circumstances.”

A spokesman for New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan told the Globe the governor “expects [the incident] will be fully investigated” and that her office had already reached out to the Department of Safety and Justice.

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Gilles Bissonnette, the legal director of the ACLU of New Hampshire, said that the force used on the suspect was “significant.” He said he expects a “thorough independent investigation to determine whether the force used was reasonable and proportional.”

The chase began around 4 p.m. when Holden, Massachusetts, police attempted to stop Simone, who was known to them, authorities said. Simone allegedly refused to stop, making his way from the Central Massachusetts town up through Littleton and Chelmsford into New Hampshire, coming to a stop in Nashua an hour later.

He was taken for booking by Nashua police, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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State police said Simone will face charges related to the pursuit in addition to his outstanding warrants and will likely be arraigned in New Hampshire first.

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