Two state troopers involved in the arrest of a man who led police on a high-speed, interstate car chase Wednesday have been relieved from duty after officers were seen repeatedly punching the suspect.
Authorities announced Thursday that one New Hampshire state trooper and one Massachusetts state trooper were removed from active duty in connection with the incident. Their names have not been released.
New Hampshire State Police Director Col. Robert L. Quinn called the incident "disturbing," but said the facts won't be known until the New Hampshire attorney general's office has concluded its independent investigation.
"I want the public and law enforcement personnel to know that the Division of State Police does not condone the unjustified use of force and it will not be tolerated," Quinn said. "The core values of our state troopers are fairness, professionalism and integrity... I assure that any wrongdoing will be dealt with in full compliance of the law and our professional standards of conduct."
Massachusetts State Police are conducting their own internal investigation into the actions of personnel who were present during the arrest.
"The Massachusetts State Police expect and demand all department members to act at all times with integrity, honor, and adherence to the law," Massachusetts State Police Col. Richard D. McKeon said. "If it is determined that a department member has not lived up to those expectations, we will take appropriate action."
The New Hampshire trooper is not being paid. A hearing will be held on Friday to determine whether the Massachusetts trooper is placed on modified-duty status for the duration of the investigation, authorities said.
Wednesday's incident occurred at the conclusion of a high-speed chase from Massachusetts to New Hampshire. Helicopter video showed the driver stepping slowly out of his truck, kneeling and putting his hands on the ground before several officers rushed him. At least two officers could be seen throwing punches.
The suspect, Richard Simone, 50, of Worcester, Massachusetts, appeared in a New Hampshire courtroom Thursday on a fugitive-from-justice charge. He waived extradition and will return to Massachusetts.
The chase began Wednesday afternoon when Simone refused to stop for local police in Holden, Massachusetts, according to Massachusetts State Police.
According to court documents, Simone was wanted on warrants out of Worcester for larceny and Millbury for assault with a dangerous weapon.
Holden police chased him, and a Massachusetts State Police cruiser followed. The chase went through several towns at speeds exceeding 100 mph, with the pickup truck "making abrupt lane changes as the [suspect] continued to try to evade capture" and crashing at least once, police said in a statement.
The chase ended in a residential area in Nashua, New Hampshire, about 50 miles northeast of where it started.
It isn't clear yet if Simone has an attorney. Attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan addressed the incident in a statement released Thursday morning.
"The footage from yesterday raises serious concerns, and I have been in contact with the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Safety," she said. "All New Hampshire public safety officials are held to the highest standards, and it is important and appropriate that the Attorney General's office has opened an investigation into the incident."
Simone will face additional charges related to the pursuit, police said, including assault with a dangerous weapon.