Two Farmington officers placed on leave after simple assault indictments
FARMINGTON — Two Farmington police officers have been placed on leave after being indicted on simple assault charges following an arrest in Milton last summer.
A Strafford County grand jury handed up the indictments against Sgt. Michael McNeil Jr. and Officer Greg Gough.In a statement, Police Chief Kevin Willey said the police department became aware of the incident shortly after it happened in June and has cooperated fully with the investigation.
“An internal investigation into the incident occurred immediately upon learning of the allegations and the appropriate action was taken,” Willey said.
According to Foster’s Daily Democrat, the indictment accuses McNeil of grabbing Randy Gray by the neck and using enough force to pull him.
Gough allegedly grabbed Gray’s arms and torso and spun his body around, Foster’s reported.
The alleged assault occurred after an off-duty McNeil stopped Gray because he thought he was involved in a road rage incident, according to Foster’s. Gray eventually took off, but police later showed up at his house, where he claims he was assaulted while in handcuffs.
The scuffle was caught on video.
Gray told Foster’s that he fled the traffic stop because McNeil wouldn’t show him his ID when he asked to see it. He also told the paper that he had complied with the police orders and didn’t resist.
McNeil and Gough remained on the job after the police department reviewed information during the criminal investigation, but were placed on administrative leave Tuesday after the indictments were announced.
“The Farmington Police Department is strongly committed to providing the most professional service to the community. Because of the nature of our work, officers are held to a high standard of conduct and we do our best to uphold those standards. If officers violate those standards in any way, they will be, and expect to be, held accountable,” Willey said in his prepared statement.
Selectman Charlie King, board chairman, said selectmen have not met to discuss the case since the indictments came out and at this point aren’t commenting on the allegations.
“We’re abreast of the situation, but we do not know what the results of the investigation will be. We may say something officially, we may not,” he said.
Willey also reminded the public that the indictments are only allegations and that the officers are “presumed innocent.”
“We ask that members of public reserve judgment until all facts are known,” he said.The indictments come just weeks after three Seabrook police officers were placed on leave when a YouTube video surfaced showing an officer shoving a suspect into a wall for no apparent reason inside the police station and another pepper-spraying him while he was on the ground. That case remains under investigation.