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AG identifies five officers involved in Weare police shooting

The attorney general’s office yesterday released the names of five Weare police officers who it says were “involved” in a drug bust turned bloody shoot-out last summer, which left a man dead and is now at the center of a lengthy criminal investigation.

The officers identified are: Sgt. Joseph Kelley, Sgt. Kenneth Cox, Detective Frank Hebert, Officer Nicholas Nadeau and Officer Brandon Montplaisir. All but Kelley, who was fired in November for reasons not yet fully disclosed, remain actively employed by the police department, Chief John Velleca said yesterday.

The attorney general’s office had previously said several officers and two confidential informants were present at the scene, and that two of the officers opened fire on the man, Alex Cora DeJesus, a 35-year-old suspected heroin dealer. Neither Velleca nor Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell would say yesterday which of the men were believed to be the shooters – though Morrell and Assistant Attorney General John McCormack clarified in a statement that DeJesus was killed by just one officer.

Morrell and McCormack said the investigation into the Aug. 14 shooting will likely continue for at least two months. “Although each case is different, this case has numerous factors that have resulted in a more lengthy and complex investigation,” they wrote.

DeJesus, of Manchester, died of a gunshot wound at a hospital hours after the incident.

Joseph Maccarone, a spokesman for the union representing Weare police officers, said yesterday that each of the men named has retained a private attorney. Neither he nor Velleca said they had the names of those lawyers.

Kelley, Nadeau and Montplaisir were each named in a lawsuit that the town settled in December for $15,000, which accused them and other officers of having harassed a man during his arrest in 2010. The man, George Hodgdon, was later acquitted of the charges against him – hindering apprehension or prosecution and unsworn falsification. In his suit, Hodgdon claimed the officers had locked him and others inside a restaurant for nearly four hours as they investigated a bar fight, and had not allowed him to adjust a leg brace when they arrested him.

Kelley was fired in November following three internal investigations, the contents of which were subsequently turned over to the attorney general’s office for “possible criminal activity,” according to correspondence among the town, the union representing Kelley and the state labor board.

In an email sent to Kelley on Nov. 8, Velleca said the investigations involved “the possible falsification of official documents and records maintained by this agency.” Two weeks later, Town Administrator Naomi Bolton notified Kelley of his termination, citing three separate grounds for the action.

In a letter later filed with the labor board, she said he had issued a bad check Sept. 27 to the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar, had asked a co-worker Nov. 3 to lie about his health in an effort to obtain workers’ compensation and disability benefits, and had falsified his time card on multiple occasions.

Kelley is contesting his firing before the labor board.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, jblackman@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

Legacy Comments1

Weare has become the poster child for bad cops. Let's hope the new chief can clean it up; if not, disband this police department and contract with state police or the sheriff's department.

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