Seabrook officer seen on video never filed report, lawyer says
SEABROOK — A Seabrook police officer caught on tape slamming a man into a concrete wall inside the police station apparently never wrote a report about his involvement in the arrest.
The police department this week released written reports of three of the four officers seen in the video posted on YouTube, but there was no report by Officer Mark Richardson.
Richardson is the officer seen escorting Michael J. Bergeron Jr. down a hallway while he was being booked after his arrest on Nov. 11, 2009. The video posted by Bergeron on Monday shows Richardson throwing Bergeron against the wall.
When asked whether Richardson wrote a report, a member of the police department staff said all of the reports from the case were released to the media and if one was missing, then it didn't exist.
Scott Gleason, Bergeron's attorney, said it's also his understanding that there is no report from Richardson.
"It's not uncommon for officers assisting to not file a report. In this circumstance it's another highly suspicious aspect to this because we've all seen the video now. We know what he did. It's just a disturbing, disturbing event," Gleason said.
The officers identified in the video were Richardson, Adam Laurent, and Keith Dietenhofer. The three were placed on paid administrative leave after the video surfaced.
Moments after Bergeron hits the wall, the video shows Laurent pepper spraying Bergeron and then smirking into the police security camera that captured the entire incident.
Dietenhofer accompanies the officers down the hallway while a fourth officer, David Hersey, is seen entering the hallway after the incident. Hersey — the officer who stopped Bergeron that night and arrested him on drunken driving and drug charges — was not put on leave.
In their reports, Laurent, Hersey and Dietenhofer have described the then-19-year-old Bergeron as someone who appeared drunk and was being physically aggressive and uncooperative. Laurent wrote that he was an "emotional rollercoaster."
The state Attorney General's Office launched a criminal investigation into the officers' conduct after the video was posted; the town is planning its own probe.
The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office has joined the investigation as well to determine whether Bergeron's civil rights were violated.
Associate Attorney General Jane Young said she couldn't comment on whether Richardson wrote a report.
"We need to gather every piece of evidence we can and talk to every witness we can to be able to make an intelligent decision as to what the next step would be," she said.
In his report, Laurent wrote that he saw Richardson perform what appeared to be an "arm bar" on Bergeron. An arm bar is a police technique often used to take a person down to the ground.
"The suggestion in one of the reports was that my client was appearing to be someone who was aggressive with Richardson before an alleged arm bar. There wasn't anything remotely near any type of aggressive behavior at that point, and that certainly wasn't any arm bar. There was a ramming of his face into a concrete wall," Gleason said.
Gleason called the video "disgusting" and "sad" and said he plans to seek justice for Bergeron while cooperating with the agencies investigating the case.
"It's obviously over the top. It's brutal," he said of the video.
Gleason also called the police report on the incident "inaccurate."
"In my 34 years I don't ever recall seeing a video of behavior and right next to it seeing a police report that is 180 degrees opposite of what transpired," Gleason said, adding that there are "significant questions relative to civil rights violations."
Gleason said he couldn't comment on why the video is coming to light now.