NEWBURYPORT — The city could pay a Lowell consulting firm up to $3,750 to review a Newburyport police officer's response to an incident in which a man was charged with assaulting a Black Lives Matter supporter in Market Square.

The officer facing criticism is Kevin Martin, who was working a detail at the time of the incident. Witnesses said he only responded to the reported assault after realizing he was being recorded. 

Martin, according to multiple witnesses, also said something along the lines of, “If you want to defund the police so bad, then why should I help you?” in addition to similar remarks.

Donn Pollard, a 63-year-old Fruit Street resident, was charged with attacking the female protester, and was arraigned July 22 on assault and battery and disorderly conduct charges. He was released on personal recognizance and ordered to return to court Sept. 17 for a pretrial hearing. 

John G. Dristiliaris Consulting, a consulting firm based in Lowell, was hired by the city to review the incident and report back with recommendations for the Newburyport Police Department.

The agreement with the city states that the firm will conduct an administrative review related to the incident, which it says "caused witnesses to question the response time and professionalism of a Newburyport police officer who was responding to an alleged assault that had occurred during a Black Lives Matter protest."

City Clerk Richard Jones provided a copy of the agreement to The Daily News, and also noted in an email that the agreement has not yet been signed, leaving open the possibility some terms could change. 

The agreement emphasizes that the administrative review is not a criminal investigation, and that the firm may review all reports of and witness statements; review any social media videos; interview identified witnesses; review the area of the incident; interview any city personnel with information about the incident; review police department policies and procedures that may be relevant to the incident; and review police personnel training that might be relevant to the incident.

According to the agreement, the city would agree to pay John G. Dristiliaris Consulting a flat rate of $150 per hour for up to 25 hours for a total cost of $3,750.  

The agreement also notes that some costs are not covered by the fee, including any third-party costs needed for the review; any additional work outside the scope of the agreement; and any cost required to retrieve outside materials. 

The mayor and city marshal previously told The Daily News that Dristiliaris' report will be shared with the community later in August. 

In an interview with Local Pulse internet radio host Joe DiBiase on Friday, Mayor Donna Holaday said the investigation was expected to be completed by the end of the day.

In a follow-up phone call on Monday, Holaday said the consulting firm requested an extension at least through the end of this week. Once the firm submits its report, the city will conduct an internal review before releasing any details to the public.

For further reading on the Market Square incident, visit https://www.newburyportnews.com/news/local_news/police-report-sheds-light-on-market-square-protest-arrest/article_1ef88d6f-744d-5135-aa03-d1d4d31415a3.html

Staff writer Jack Shea covers Newbury­port City Hall. He can be reached via email at jshea@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3154. Follow him on Twitter @iamjackshea.

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