We publish this letter to the editor as submitted and encourage your comments and LTE submissions. Be warned, though. This one might teach you something! ~Publis
A friend who is learning disabled was charged last June 18, 2013 at the gun rally in Concord and today (Nov. 26, 2014) I sat in court and listened to the case.
He was charged with Criminal Assault for touching the man speaking against guns on the Bloomberg express at Concord State House lawn.
He was charged with assault on a police officer and finally he was charged with resisting arrest twice.
Anyone who saw the video or would like to can google the Concord arrest or write and ask me for it. (Publisher’s note: Click here for our coverage on the matter, which includes exclusive photos and video.)
Judge Boyle very carefully explained what he did wrong and then stated he was dismissing the Criminal Assault and the Assault on a police officer. It seems in NH law that because he put two fingers out and touched the police officer that allowed three police officers to grab him and charge him with assault, but oh yeah they didn’t tell him why they were arresting him just that he was arrested and they promptly tried to handcuff him. He resisted so consequently he was under arrest for resisting arrest. One police officer ripped his uniform and was scrapped up. Now I don’t condone resisting arrest but I’m afraid before this I would have also wanted to know why I was being arrested and wouldn’t have believed that by touching a police officer on his shoulder I could be charged with assault upon an officer. So this is information that Judge Boyle told us helped to educate me and I feel it is good to help others also understand that unauthorized touching of an policeman is a crime.
I still don’t understand how one incident of resisting arrest became two charges but maybe I will find out.
The worst of this is that the man is a very kind person and has spent many hours helping elderly get well after strokes, sharing his garden and even doing work for a man dying of cancer and my husband and I when he had strokes and we couldn’t get chores done because of the strokes leaving some paralysis. Yes he gets excited, but he is after all from a large family of Italians who usually show emotion.
So today I learned something about law because Judge Boyle explained the laws very well. He even threw out the charge of assault on the police officer but as crazy as it seems even though why the police gathered around, yanking his arms to put him in handcuffs and even tazering him was because of the touching of the officer on the shoulder, the fact that he resisted an arrest he didn’t understand was from touching the officer, you can’t resist a police officer. As Judge Boyle explained the place to defend yourself against the arrest is in the courtroom.
So while I feel strongly any law that would allow police to arrest a person who touched them not in a harmful way, I understand that this law is a law begging to be changed. No police officers should be allowed to arrest and handcuff a person for a simple touch on the shoulder, in fact in court he was found innocent of the touching being assault. It’s just the resisting arrest for that innocent touch that he didn’t realize was a chargeable offense.
No one should ever hit or hurt a policeman intentionally but the law needs to be changed when a police officer within a foot of you can charge you with assault for touching your shoulder while making a point.
Thank you Judge Boyle for explaining the the laws so well but how can a person be guilty when what he did to get arrested was dismissed? Society needs to look at laws which are unjust and I believe if I were to touch a police officer with my two fingers they would arrest me for assault so now the law of assault upon a police officer needs to be clarified as to what assault upon a police officer really is, that’s just my opinion.
Harriet E. Cady
P.O. Box 149
Deerfield, N.H. 03037