Hockey coach may claim self-defense in altercation in which he was stunned by Salem policeBy JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent
May 03. 2018 9:46AM
SALEM — A youth hockey coach arrested after he was tased during a scuffle with police may try to claim that he acted in self defense, court documents show.
The lawyer for Robert S. Andersen, 45, of Wilmington, Mass., recently filed paperwork in Rockingham County Superior Court stating self defense as a possible defense to charges he assaulted a police officer and threatened another.
Andersen was arrested on Dec. 2 after police responded to the ICenter skating complex in Salem.
Cellphone video captured Andersen being taken down by police after a hockey game.
Andersen is charged with simple assault on a police officer, criminal threatening of a police officer and resisting arrest.
The threatening and assault charges are Class A misdemeanors that carry an extended prison term of 2 to 5 years on each if convicted.
Andersen has pleaded not guilty.
The complaints allege Andersen struck Salem police officer Jeffrey Czarnec in the jaw with his leg and attempted to place Sgt. Justin Bagley in fear of “imminent physical contact” by charging at him with his arms up.
The resisting arrest charge accuses Andersen of refusing to comply with commands issued by Bagley, Czarnec and officer Stephen Lundquist while pulling his arms away and physically struggling with the officers as they tried to detain him.
Some witnesses have claimed Andersen, who is free on bail, did nothing wrong.
His Massachusetts lawyer, Christopher DiBella, has said parents and referees had an argument during a game involving 13-year-old players and Andersen, who is an assistant coach, was not involved in the dispute.
DiBella claims Andersen was trying to break up the argument between parents when police arrived.
The case is being handled by the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office.
Assistant County Attorney William Pate is prosecuting the case, but declined to comment Wednesday, saying he couldn’t discuss an active case.
County Attorney Patricia Conway also said she couldn’t comment on the facts of the case or “any video that may be associated with the case as the case is still open.”
However, Conway added, “Generally speaking, when the (county attorney’s office) is prosecuting a case we welcome, review and consider all information we receive from any witness or party. All information is taken into consideration when determining what a fair and just resolution is in the case.”
Salem Town Manager Chris Dillon ordered an outside agency to audit the police department and its internal affairs investigation, but has said it wasn’t because of the hockey incident.