A man arrested in New Hampshire is threatening to sue police over police brutality. The event occurred in 2009 but is just now being brought to the public's attention because the videotape was not recovered by the victim until recently. On November 11, 2009, Mike Bergeron was arrested in Seabrook, New Hampshire for suspicion of DWI. Inside the station, Bergeron claimed that he reached for his wallet only to have a police officer smash him against a wall and choke him, telling him that he could not remove anything from his own pockets. Bergeron also claims to have been pepper sprayed by two other officers.
What makes this case interesting is that Bergeron has a videotape of some of the abuse. In the tape, the viewer can plainly see a police officer violently throw the victim against the concrete wall. Bergeron is clearly injured by this and has trouble standing on his own after the incident. He is then seen being thrown on the floor where several officers then stand around and seem to be amused. This video is extremely disturbing to watch especially when one considers the fact that Bergeron was only arrested for suspicion of DWI.
Bergeron claimed that he is concerned that he may not be able to file a suit against the police department because too much time has passed. He claims the videotape was in the hands of his former attorney and he was not able to recover it until recently. He claims he has extensive injuries including:
A permanent lump on the back of my head chipped teeth and brain injuries
This is certainly not the first time police have been accused of brutality towards a DWI suspect. In August 2013, a woman in Tennessee says that police smashed her face into a police car during a routine DUI arrest. This was also caught on tape. The 44-year-old woman allegedly suffered a broken orbital bone, a swollen eye, a bloody nose and cuts to her arms and legs.
What is disturbing about these scenarios is that the suspects were arrested for a minor criminal offense. Nothing about their situation would lead police to believe that they were carrying weapons or posed any sort of real danger. The only reason a police officer would have for using excessive force is if they feared for their own safety. In both of these situations this was not the case. Even the officer in the Bergeron case had not valid reason to assume the suspect was removing something dangerous from his pocket. He was already in custody and had likely been patted down by other officers. The probability that he was producing a weapon was slim.
After Bergeron produced the video, three of the officers involved have been placed on administrative suspension while the case is looked into. It is troubling to think that though this abuse was captured on video tape there is a good chance that these officers will not lose their job and will continue to arrest DWI suspects. If a person feels that they are mistreated in anyway during their arrest process, they should make sure their DWI attorney is aware of this right away.