Some concerned residents at a forum after longtime Police Chief Shawn Bernier was fired
New Durham residents file suit against selectmen over police chief firing
NEW DURHAM - A group of town residents have filed a lawsuit aimed at getting former police chief Shawn Bernier his job back.
The five plaintiffs are asking the court to invalidate votes taken by the Board of Selectmen back in July, arguing at least one member of the three-member board, namely David Bickford, should have disqualified himself from participating in the vote to fire Bernier.
The lawsuit notes that Bickford's son had been arrested in late 2009 and 2010 and alleges that Bickford asked Bernier to intercede in the case and have some of the charges dropped. From that point on, the lawsuit alleges that Bickford began voting against the requests of the police department and made false accusations against Bernier.
The lawsuit also names Selectman Gregory Anthes as a defendant, saying among other things that he and Bickford met improperly to discuss town business without providing notice to the public.
The lawsuit was filed Friday in the Strafford County Superior Court.