NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 9, 2014

Officers named in Seabrook video scuffle

SEABROOK — Officers Mark Richardson, Adam Laurent and Keith Dietenhofer, veteran officers with almost 30 years combined experience with the Seabrook Police Department, were identified yesterday as the officers placed on administrative leave as the fallout continues from a YouTube video showing one of the officers slamming a young man’s head against a cement wall inside the Liberty Lane police station.

In other developments, Town Manager William Manzi III and Seabrook police Chief Lee Bitomske announced that the state attorney general’s office would be leading the investigation into the incident.

The announcement came after a whirlwind morning and afternoon that included a 75-minute closed-door emergency meeting of the Board of Selectmen at Town Hall and a meeting between Bitomske and Jane Young, senior assistant attorney general with the state, earlier in the day.

“It’s in the attorney general’s hands now. We will continue to support their efforts and await the outcome of their investigation,” Bitomske said.

The U.S. attorney and FBI reportedly are investigating whether the man’s civil rights were violated.

The roughly 4-minute video, titled “police brutality in seabrook,” was shot on Nov. 11, 2009, by a camera that monitors the Seabrook police station cellblock. It was posted to Youtube earlier this week, and quickly gained thousands of views.

The video shows Michael J. Bergeron Jr. being led down a hall by a police officer while two other officers walk alongside.

Bergeron is not handcuffed; however, one of his arms is being held by Richardson. Seconds later, Richardson yanks down on Bergeron’s arm, throwing Bergeron’s head against the wall, knocking him off his feet and sprawling him onto the floor. Richardson leans over and appears to say something to Bergeron. Still dazed, Bergeron is hauled to his feet before falling down again. Seconds later, Laurent douses him with what appears to be pepper spray. At various points, some of the officers smile, and Laurent looks directly at the surveillance camera. There is no audio with the video.

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