The police certification of fired Manchester police officer Aaron Brown, who has been described by a city lawyer as a “proven racist,” will be heard next month by the state board that issues and revokes the essential document.
David Parenteau, a major with the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council, confirmed that Manchester Police Chief Carlo Capano has asked the 14-member board to take up the certification of Brown.
The board had slated the hearing for next week but later postponed it to Oct. 27.
Former Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard fired Brown in April 2018 after an investigation found that Brown had sent racially insensitive texts to his wife, including joking about shooting Blacks. A city-hired lawyer fighting against his rehiring, Mark Broth, has called Brown a “proven racist” in filings with a state labor board.
Two separate arbitration rulings have gone in Brown’s favor, including a decision from last December that Brown deserves his job back and a 30-day suspension.
Capano, who has announced his resignation and will be gone at the end of the month, has said he “will die on this hill” rather than rehire Brown.
Brown’s lawyer has said the texts were private communications between the officer of 11 years and his wife. He has said Brown is not a racist and is the victim of politically convenient attacks in an age where negative attacks are commonplace.
By requesting a hearing before the Police Standards and Training Council, Capano appears to be attempting to prevent Brown from returning to the job. Nearly all police officers in New Hampshire must have a certification to do the job.
However, it’s uncertain exactly what Capano is seeking. Both the Manchester police and Police Standards and Training Council did not readily release any paperwork in connection with the hearing.
They instructed the New Hampshire Union Leader to file a Right to Know request for the information. Those requests are pending.
Earlier this month, Parenteau told the Union Leader that the certifications of Brown and another fired Manchester police officer, Darren Murphy, remain in effect technically, but their status is in limbo until their arbitrations are resolved.
Parenteau said that if either were to land a job with another agency, the council would hold a hearing about their certifications.
A review of the minutes shows that the Police Standards board holds open meetings but frequently goes behind closed doors at the request of police chiefs. The minutes say the closed-door session is necessary to protect the reputation of an individual.
The board includes judges, a state police officer, sheriffs, police chiefs, Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, Corrections Commissioner Helen Hanks and public members. Capano is a member of the board.
On Sept. 21, lawyers and the city also have a deadline to update the New Hampshire Public Employee Labor Relations Board on efforts to resolve complaints over the city’s refusal to rehire Brown. In the past, both sides have asked for extensions that have been granted.