WATCH: Police Takedown of Screaming Teen in NH Library Raises Questions of Brutality
LEBANON — A video posted to social media of police arresting a teen in a town's library has led to public discussion and claims of undue force by local police.
Jacob Seace, 18, of Lebanon was arrested at the Kilton Library about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday when officers arrived to speak with him about an ongoing investigation into a computer crime.
Police said he was about to flee with a mobile phone that may have evidence of a crime on it.
Lebanon police chief Richard Mello told NH1 News on Friday that officers went to the library with the intention only to speak with Seace.
"They went with no intent to arrest," Mello said. "Only through the actions of the defendant was there a need for the officers to use force to stop him from fleeing with evidence."
When he tried to flee Sgt. Richard Norris and Detective Alan Lowe had to "grab a hold" of him and he continued to resist before they brought him to the floor, police said in the original press release.
A library patron recorded mobile phone video of a portion of the incident. The video does not capture clear image of what occurred. The audio portion of the recording does capture what transpired.
In the video posted YouTube by Mary Cain, an officer says "stop resisting," several times.
Seace responds, yelling and screaming.
"Stop hurting me. You're hurting me," and, "Just take my phone please leave me alone."
"Are you going to put your hands behind your back? Put your hands behind your back," one officer says.
"Ow, you're breaking my wrist," Seace says.
"No one's breaking your wrist," an officer responds.
"Ow, ow you're hurting me," Seace says. "I haven't done anything."
At one point Seace says he wants a lawyer.
Later, a woman's voice is heard.
"Why is this happening? Why is this happening here," she says as an unidentified man approaches her. Then a woman is heard giggling.
"We're not involved," the man responds. "It's just the way things are."
There is much in the video that is unitelligable.
Another voice, this time of a man, says "that was breaching his civil rights. That's assault."
"I reviewed the video and the circumstances," Mello said. "There is no doubt in my mind they acted appropriately within the color of department policy and the law."
Mello, in response to many online comments that the officers had no warrant, said the incident falls under "an exception to the warrant rule." That exception allows police to secure potential evidence from a person if officers believe it may be destroyed.
Mello said the department obtained a search warrant to examine the contents of the phone. The examination is not complete and charges may be forthcoming.
"The reason this happened is because the defendant decided he wanted to flee," he said.
Police charged Seace with obstructing government administration and resisting arrest and detention, both class B misdemeanors. Seace posted $500 bail and is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 8.