The ACLU-New Hampshire has sued to gain access to disciplinary and investigative records involving a Salem police officer who was fired during the probe of the town police department.
Filed on Monday, the suit seeks records that will explain the one-day suspension for police Sgt. Michael Verrocchi following a high-speed prank he played on a rookie police officer in November 2012.
Verrocchi seemed to escape serious consequences from the incident — when police chased him at speeds up to 62 mph in a 30 mph zone — until it was disclosed in the 2018 Kroll audit of the police department.
Authorities subsequently charged Verrocchi with crimes related to the chase; his case is pending.
Last year, a state board voted against rescinding his police certification.
“This case is about the ability of the police to police themselves,” writes the ACLU in the opening of the suit.
The suit followed refusals by the Salem Police Department to provide the information to the ACLU. The New Hampshire Union Leader has also filed a request for the information, which is pending.
Acting Salem Police Chief Joel Dolan said in an email that he would reserve comment.
According to the ACLU suit, Salem police have claimed that disclosure would interfere with a law enforcement proceeding and jeopardize Verrocchi’s chance for a fair trial.
A hearing on the suit is scheduled for Jan. 26 at Rockingham County Superior Court.