NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 2, 2013

Police report states building inspector's behavior nearly ended in arrest

SALISBURY — The town’s building inspector, David Lovering, came close to being arrested by police last month following a loud verbal altercation with a patrol officer responding to a report of doors left wide open at a Pike Street residence.

The expletive-laden report of Salisbury police officer Mark Thomas details an intense verbal confrontation. Thomas described it as a borderline criminal disorderly conduct charge as Lovering repeatedly yelled and swore at the veteran officer, drawing the attention of passers-by. Witnessing the lengthy exchange was Salisbury firefighter Ken Trofatter, who had picked up Lovering in a firefighter cruiser and parked inside the driveway of the Pike Street residence.

According to Thomas’ report, on the afternoon of June 4, the Salisbury Fire Department received a call from a Pike Street resident stating that the front door of the adjacent house was open. Trofatter secured the house prior to Thomas’ arrival and told him what he had done. Trofatter asked Thomas if he wanted to search the house just to be sure, but Thomas said he had no legal right to do so, according to Thomas’ report.

Thomas stated his refusal to search the house didn’t sit well with Lovering, who wanted the house searched. When Thomas told Lovering that his hands were tied legally, Lovering, in an angry and excited voice, said: “I have never called an officer and had them refuse to go in a house for me.”

Lovering did not return phone calls seeking comment on the complaint or why he wanted access to the house.

But Town Manager Neil Harrington said in a discussion he had with Lovering regarding the incident, he told Harrington that he was concerned by the open door, saying children may have been in the house and at risk.

Thomas again tried to explain the town’s legal liability should he enter a private dwelling without authority, but that did not quell Lovering’s rising anger, his report states. When Thomas asked Lovering why he felt it necessary to enter the house, the building inspector told him to “Get the (expletive) out of here.” Lovering then raised his right fist with his thumb sticking out and made a gesture to the same effect. “I knew I wouldn’t get anything from you,” Lovering added, according to Thomas’ report.

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