May 19, 2015 3:43 PM
Assault trial begins for ex-Seabrook police officer caught on camera
BRENTWOOD - Former Seabrook police officer Mark Richardson sat motionless as a single criminal charge was read to his jury Tuesday morning: simple assault for allegedly slamming a man's head into a concrete wall at his police station.
The Attorney General's office says that Richardson, 40, of West Newbury, Mass., helped to rough up 19-year-old Michael Bergeron on Nov. 11, 2009. Bergeron was in police custody because he had been pulled over for driving while intoxicated.
Police also found two marijuana cigarettes and two cut straws with white powder in them when they searched Bergeron's vehicle, according to Peter Perroni, who is Richardson's defense attorney. He told the jury Tuesday morning that Bergeron was belligerently drunk and high on drugs when he was arrested.
Perroni asked the jury to take surveillance video the prosecution presented in context. He said Bergeron began kicking at the partition and door of the police cruiser he was placed in. Then Bergeron began screaming and barking at officers, Perroni said.
Bergeron's alleged bad behavior did not stop when he arrived at the Seabrook Police Department. He took off his clothes and began flushing them down the toilet, trying to start flooding. He whipped his wet shirt on the bars of his cell and began spitting everywhere, Perroni said.
"He's just messed up," Perroni told the jurors during his opening argument.
Just before Richardson's alleged assault, Bergeron got into a pushing match with officer Adam Laurent, who ended up using mace on him.
Senior Assistant Attorney General John McCormack started his opening argument by showing the jury 12 seconds of the surveillance video. He characterized Bergeron as a skinny, drunk young man, trying to keep his jeans up.
"Michael posed no threat to the defendant or the other officers," McCormack said.
He claimed Richardson chose to slam Bergeron into the concrete wall because he was frustrated with him.
"He had finally heard enough of Michael and he interjected himself," McCormack said, calling the incident a brutal assault on an unsuspecting victim.
The jury is expected to tour the hallway where the alleged assault happened Wednesday. Perroni told them Richardson will take the witness stand in his own defense later on in the trial.