Gun store owner apologizes for conduct at Tuesday gun rally
A Concord police officer moves Ralph Demicco away from the spot where other officers arrest Daniel Musso in front of the State House on Tuesday, June 18, 2013. Demicco has apologized for kicking one of the arresting officer's keys as they were detainign Musso.
(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)
The owner of one of the state’s largest gun stores has apologized to the Concord police after kicking an officer’s keys and cursing at others during a tense gun rally Tuesday in front of the State House.
Ralph Demicco, who owns Riley’s Sports Shop in Hooksett, sent a letter of apology Wednesday to the department but said yesterday that he was not yet prepared to comment on it or the incident, which took place about 6 p.m. Tuesday on the sidewalk along South Main Street. Demicco, a gun rights advocate, had been present to protest against a gun control rally.
In a YouTube video circulating yesterday, Demicco is shown kicking the officer’s keys after they apparently fell from his hip during the arrest of Daniel Musso, a gun rights demonstrator who was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and two counts of simple assault. Wearing a forest green polo with the Riley’s logo emblazoned on the chest, Demicco then approaches the three officers restraining Musso and says something inaudible. When two officers instruct him to back away, Demicco points to each and yells, “(Expletive) you.”
In the letter, shared by Concord police Chief John Duval, Demicco describes his conduct.
“As the four people were on the ground struggling, a set of keys lay on the ground,” he wrote. “I did kick them. I had no way of knowing whose they were.”
“I regret having done that as well as being anywhere near what was happening,” he continues. “Not ever having experienced this sort of thing before, I was somewhat confused as to what was transpiring. My actions were inappropriate and I have deep regrets. I have a respect for law enforcement and those who put their safety at risk for the public good.
“Please apologize to your officers for me. Rest assured this incident will not be repeated.”
Riley’s, which has been in business for more than five decades, regularly services local police departments, including Concord’s. There is even a building behind the store devoted exclusively to law enforcement.
Duval would not say yesterday how the episode would impact the business relationship between the department and Riley’s, but he did describe Demicco’s actions during the arrest as disruptive.
“I have no issue with people expressing their right to free speech, no matter the view, but individuals who engage in very close proximity like kicking an officer’s equipment and yelling and screaming expletives at our officers is distracting,” Duval said.
Duval was not present at the arrest but said he had watched several videos depicting it.
“I saw my officers taking their eyes and hands off (Musso). I was very concerned with what I saw,” he said. “It created a difficult situation and an atmosphere where things could have gotten worse or escalated very quickly.”
Duval would not comment on the specifics of the arrest because it is still under investigation. But the YouTube video depicts much of it. At one point about 4½ minutes in, Musso is shown and heard refusing to speak with an officer.
“We have some complaints,” the officer tells him.
“I have no complaints,” Musso interjects.
“That you’ve been getting into people’s faces,” the officer continues, “that you’ve been getting into their pri--”
“Right here, right here,” Musso says, pointing behind the officer and then placing his hand on the officer’s right shoulder, apparently trying to turn him around.
“Don’t touch me,” the officer says, as two other officers grab Musso’s wrists and inform him he is under arrest. As the two try to force Musso’s hands behind his back, the officer he had been speaking to attempts to restrain him with a bear hug. The four men, limbs tangled together, shuffle in unison toward a small wooden kiosk.
“He’s not fighting you,” several people watching the exchange shout.
“I’ve got two boys in Afghanistan,” Musso declares as the officers tell him to cooperate. “No I ain’t gonna put my hands behind my back, and you ain’t gonna put my hands behind my back, and you ain’t gonna trip me. It ain’t gonna happen.”
As the tussle continues, one of the officers pulls out a Taser and points it at Musso’s chest.
“Don’t you dare,” Musso shouts, pointing at the officer. “I’ve got a heart condition.”
The officer continues pointing the device, and Musso appears to continue resisting the other two officers as they try to handcuff him. Moments later, Musso wiggles an arm free, and the officer holding the Taser grabs it and shoots him in the chest. A pop followed by a low buzz is heard as Musso and the officers all drop to the pavement.
(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319,
firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)