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Concord police officer accused of domestic violence, witness tampering

  • Concord Police Officer Bryan Croft, 38, appearing virtually at an arraignment in Merrimack County Superior Court on Friday.

Monitor staff
Published: 1/22/2021 2:03:54 PM

A Concord police officer was arrested Friday on charges of choking his wife while she held their 4-month-old son in late 2020, ordering her to lie about it and destroy evidence.

Bryan Croft, 38, of Concord, is charged with five felonies, including second degree assault, witness tampering, and falsifying physical evidence. He also faces a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

Croft, who is the son of Merrimack County Sheriff David Croft, was taken into custody Friday morning and arraigned in Merrimack County Superior Court by the afternoon. He was ordered by Judge David Anderson to be held without bail in preventative detention. In denying bail, Anderson cited the severity of the charges as well as allegations that Croft had committed witness tampering since the charges were brought.

Croft has been on leave as a Concord Police officer while the investigation unfolded, Senior Assistant Attorney General Timothy Sullivan said Friday.

In a statement Friday, Concord Police Chief Bradley Osgood said the department was aware of the charges and that Croft is now on unpaid leave and “will remain in that capacity pending further review of this matter.” He did not say if Croft would be fired.

“We understand that Officer Bryan Croft was arrested today and placed on preventative detention without bail,” Osgood said. “The Attorney General’s Office has been handling the criminal investigation and will be prosecuting the conduct set forth in the criminal complaints.”

On Oct. 17, Croft is accused of strangling his wife by the neck at their Concord home as she held their son. The assault was witnessed by the woman’s nine-year-old daughter, who kicked and punched Croft to make him stop, according to court documents.

After the alleged assault, Croft locked his wife, the baby and their son out of the house by bolting a door with a chain, the police affidavit states. As the woman reached in to unlock the chain, Croft slammed the door on her arm, according to court documents. The force of the door caused bruising, which served as the basis for the misdemeanor domestic violence charge.

“These were significant violent acts,” Sullivan said at the arraignment hearing.

At one point in the evening, Croft told his wife “Why don’t you drive away in your car,” the affidavit said. But his wife’s cars’ tires had been slashed earlier in the evening, she told investigators.

Authorities were notified through an anonymous report. After state police began investigating, Croft is accused of directing his wife to to lie about what happened, at first telling her to deny anything happened. Later, he instructed her to tell investigators she was injured while moving exercise equipment in the home. He is also accused of ordering her to delete photo and video evidence on her phone, according to court documents.

In late October the state’s Division for Children, Youth and Families had implemented a safety plan that called for Croft to move out of the home with his wife and their children, the affidavit stated.

Sullivan said that the charges had been delayed since October, partly due to Croft’s alleged witness tampering and attempts to cover up evidence. The delay also came because the victim said she was in “significant fear” of Croft, pointing to violence in the past and threats that he would take the baby away from her.

“All of this shows an individual … whose world is essentially crumbling around him and only heightens the state’s concern for the victim and what might happen should he be released into the community,” Sullivan said.

After months of declining to share her story, the victim eventually came forward on Jan. 5 and told investigators that there was a “history of domestic violence in the home,” and that the October events were not an isolated incident, Sullivan said Friday. That history extended back to December 2018, Sullivan said.

“She described multiple patterns of both physical, emotional and mental abuse that were perpetrated by the defendant,” Sullivan said. “It started with hitting, slapping, and now has escalated to the next step of an alleged strangulation.”

Sullivan said that the victim had admitted to investigators that she had participated in a lie to investigators about the alleged abuse at the direction of Croft. That was done under fear of retaliation, threats and violence, Sullivan said.

The day that the victim spoke to investigators, Croft filed for divorce against her, the affidavit says.

Appearing before the court Friday, Croft’s defense attorney Jim Moyer argued that bail should be granted because Croft had not issued any threats against the victim since the alleged behavior in October, and that he had followed the DCYF safety plan and stayed away. But Anderson disagreed, calling the circumstances too grave.

Croft’s wife is also a police officer with the Concord Police Department.

The incident in October had stemmed from an argument between Croft and his wife alleged infidelity by Croft, according to the affidavit. Most of Croft’s earlier alleged assaults had also happened during arguments about his extramarital affairs, the affidavit said.

Court records also indicate that Croft’s wife was served a restraining order that restricts her from being within 300 feet of a woman with a “personal relationship” with Croft. That order, issued Jan. 14, alleges that Croft’s wife banged on the woman’s door and yelled near midnight in December, and had been stalking the woman and making phone calls.

Concord Police Chief Bradley Osgood requested State Police investigate the accusations against Croft.

Bryan Croft earned $86,114 in 2019, which included $9,978 in overtime, according to city records.

“The charges and allegations are merely accusations, and Mr. Croft is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty,” the Attorney General’s Office said.

Confidential advocates are available 24/7 through New Hampshire’s statewide domestic violence helpline at 1-866-644-3574. You do not need to be in crisis to call.




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