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Two more Manchester police officers fired, mayor commends chief for taking action

New Hampshire Union Leader

April 11. 2018 9:41PM

UNION LEADER FILE Officers Steven Cornacchia, left, and Aaron Brown were fired Wednesday by Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard.

MANCHESTER — Police Chief Nick Willard fired two police officers Wednesday, bringing to three the number who have lost their badges in the last two months.

In February, Willard fired undercover police officer Darren Murphy for unspecified misconduct that prompted Hillsborough County prosecutors to drop 35 felony drug cases.

One of the two officers fired Wednesday, Aaron Brown, was first placed on paid administrative leave on Feb. 20, about 2 1/2 weeks after Murphy’s firing. Brown, Willard said, had been an officer for 10 years and will face a criminal investigation, though the chief did not specify for what or characterize the alleged wrongdoing.

“The department has consulted with both the attorney general and county attorney on this matter and will continue to do so,” Willard said.

The other officer fired Wednesday is Steven Cornacchia, whose termination was expected after he signaled his intent in January to plead guilty to his role in a hit-and-run pedestrian accident downtown in May 2017. He was not on duty at the time.

An officer for five years, Cornacchia was scheduled to plead guilty to the charge in January, but collapsed in a Hillsborough County Superior Court hallway the day of the hearing.

The New Hampshire Union Leader was unable to determine the status of his case Wednesday afternoon.

Cornacchia had been on unpaid leave since his arrest.

“The Manchester Police Department continues to strive for excellence while serving the citizens of Manchester each and every day,” Willard said in a statement.

He said the men and women of the department possess honor and integrity.

“If any officer breaches the trust of our agency and more importantly, our community, we will always seek swift and immediate remedies,” he said.

Willard acknowledged an “understandable interest” in the conduct of Cornacchia and Brown, but said he is not at liberty to release any results of an internal affairs investigation because it involves personnel information.

“I can assure the community, however, we will continue to serve the citizens of the city of Manchester while providing the highest level of service by the most professional police officers in the country,” he wrote.

In a statement, Mayor Joyce Craig said: “The men and women of the Manchester Police Department strive to provide the highest level of professionalism and safety in our community. It is unacceptable when wrongdoing occurs and I appreciate Chief Willard taking action.”

Craig said she continues to support the department’s efforts to provide the highest level of service to the city.

Last week Hillsborough County Attorney Dennis Hogan announced that he was lining up an outside police agency to investigate Murphy for potential criminal wrongdoing.

Public Safety Manchester

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