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AG releases list of 171 NH police officers on 'Laurie list' due to credibility issues

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 02. 2018 9:09AM

Gov. Chris Sununu addresses a gathering of reporters and law enforcement officials during a news conference on May 1 at Londonderry police headquarters, announcing changes to the so-called “Laurie List”. Behind Sununu are, left to right, Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, Londonderry Police Chief William Hart, and Londonderry Police Lt. Patrick Cheetham, president of the New Hampshire Police Association. (Paul Feely/Union Leader File)

A statewide list of police officers with credibility issues includes 171 names, but many of those officers are not likely on the job.

New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald released a heavily redacted version of the Exculpatory Evidence Schedule last month, a list that his office is required to maintain under state law. Every person on the so-called “Laurie list” has been placed there by his or her police chief after internal investigators determined that their credibility had been harmed by committing a crime, lying or other inappropriate actions.

Names on the list are blacked out, as are the dates of the incident that got the officer into trouble. The June 1 list includes the date that the attorney general was notified of the issue and — in some cases — the reason for being listed.

They range from excessive force, to falsifying reports, to lying in court, to sexual harassment.

MacDonald released the list in response to Right-to-Know requests.

The Manchester Police Department, the state’s largest, has the single most entries, 20, followed by Nashua with 18 and New Hampshire State Police with 12.

Other agencies have only a handful: Bedford, Weare and Salem have four apiece. Seabrook and Plaistow have three. Exeter two.

The state Fire Marshal’s office has two on the list. Both the Bureau of Liquor Enforcement and Medical Examiner’s office have a name on the list. The Attorney General’s Drug Task Force has someone on the list.

Manchester Police Chief Carlo Capano said only two Manchester police officers are on the list who currently work with the department. They have been there since 2011 and remain full-time patrol officers and have no supervisory rank.

The other 18 entries represent officers who were either fired, retired or resigned. The only way a name gets off the list is for a police chief to determine that the allegation against the officer was not credible.

“They don’t go off the list if they quit, or retire or die,” said Lisa Wolford, the senior assistant attorney general who oversees the case.

She said names stay on the list because a criminal case could take years to go to trial.

The list could include Manchester officers Darren Murphy and Aaron Brown, whom previous police chief Nick Willard fired earlier this year. A Manchester woman has accused them of coercing her into having sex with them, and the officers are both under criminal investigation. Capano said he cannot confirm who is on the list. He said Murphy and Brown have appealed their terminations, and that process is ongoing.

“As a large agency, we have always held our officers accountable and will continue to hold our officers accountable,” Capano said.

He said he agrees with decisions by MacDonald and previous attorneys general that the names on the list should not be public.

The New Hampshire branch of the American Civil Liberties Union has accused MacDonald of taking a police-centered approach to the list and said it should be released with names and all information.

“If there is a sustained finding that a police officer engaged in acts that hinder their ability to do their job, the public has a right to know, especially when the public’s footing the bill for that officer. It’s a transparency issue,” said Gilles Bissonnette, legal director for the New Hampshire ACLU.

Wolford said her office is considering several media Right-to-Know requests for unredacted versions of the list.

Authorities maintain the list so prosecutors have a single location to check on police officers involved in the cases they are prosecuting. Appellate courts have ruled that criminal defense attorneys have a right to any information that would challenge the veracity of any witness, including police.

The list (names have been redacted) can be viewed below.

Crime, law and justice Public Safety

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