My Turn: Weare police chief’s allegations are false
An article about a lawsuit I filed against the town of Weare in my capacity as a New Hampshire lawyer (Monitor, June 3) referenced false and reckless allegations against me personally.
Chief John Velleca has accused me personally of acting criminally by receiving stolen property. Words cannot begin to describe my outrage at Velleca’s false accusations. I have not received any stolen property, and Velleca has no basis to accuse me of any criminal conduct.
Velleca’s false and reckless accusations constitute malicious retaliation against me for daring to challenge his power and daring to advocate on behalf of a police sergeant whose firing Velleca engineered.
The police wield power over all of us, and with that power comes a responsibility to exercise it responsibly and for proper purposes – not to exploit that power for malicious and retaliatory purposes to retaliate against a lawyer who dared to challenge the police chief’s decision to recommend the firing of a decorated police officer, without notice or hearing, 17 days after the officer went out on leave at the instruction of a doctor and psychologist because the officer was suffering disabling symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and anxiety associated with the officer’s involvement in a shooting.
Velleca’s status as a police chief does not exempt him from accountability and in fact imposes a heightened burden on him to act responsibly. Police chiefs should not be allowed, recklessly and baselessly, to accuse people of crimes, as Velleca has done here.
(Benjamin T. King is an attorney with Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C., in Concord.)