ROCHESTER — Local police explained on Tuesday why a man who was being taken into custody for a domestic disturbance had to be treated at Frisbie Memorial Hospital following an altercation with law enforcement officers.
Video has surfaced of officers apparently kneeing and kicking city resident Johnathan Morrill, 36, earlier this month as he cried for help.
Some people have raised alarm, saying it looks like eight officers were working to ensure Morrill was subdued.
When asked if more police officers are needed to respond to situations like this than in the past, Capt. Todd Pinkham said their response on Oct. 19 was pretty standard.
“I think it’s been kind of a standard response that whenever officers start to engage in some type of hands-on detention, or trying to effect an arrest, that other officers are naturally going to respond to assist to keep everyone around there safe as well as to make the arrest or detention successful,” Pinkham said.
Pinkham said Morrill was clearly not complying with police on the night in question.
“The need for those officers on that particular call were to make sure we were able to take him into custody safely,” Pinkham said.
Pinkham said they follow procedures established in their training during the course of arrests.
According to an affidavit for Morrill’s arrest, police were initially dispatched to 48 Grove St. because Morrill allegedly had broken a door at the residence.
Officer William Robinson made contact with Morrill near Cumberland Farms in East Rochester. Officer Joseph Oswalt responded to aid Robinson.
Police said Morrill began to fight with the officers and attempted to run away from them, fleeing in the direction of Maine.
Robinson and Oswalt struggled to get Morrill onto the ground and other emergency responders arrived at the scene, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit states that, during the incident, Morrill grabbed Robinson’s sidearm and attempted to remove it from the holster. After police put him into handcuffs, Morrill pulled one hand free and pushed Robinson, police said.
A Taser was used on Morrill so he could be taken into custody, according to arrest records.
After his arrest, Morrill and two police officers were treated at Frisbie Memorial Hospital for minor injuries, according to Pinkham.
Morrill was transported to Strafford County House of Corrections and was held without bail.
He is still being held on preventative detention following his arraignment on Oct. 21 for charges of resisting arrest, simple assault, escape with force or deadly weapon, and attempting to take a gun from a law enforcement officer.
The charge of attempting to take a gun from a law enforcement officer is a Class A felony.
Morrill also had several active warrants at the time of his arrest, including a bail jumping warrant and three electronic bench warrants.