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January 17, 2014

Court filing details case against officer

Salem policeman accused of injuring chase suspect

SALEM — An early-morning, high-speed chase last fall ended with an arrest and the potential end of a Salem police officer’s career.

Officer Joseph Freda, 33, faces two misdemeanor assault charges, brought more than three months after the incident.

Documents filed in 10th Circuit Court in Salem yesterday detail the investigation that resulted in those charges by the Attorney General’s Office.

A six-page application for an arrest warrant against Freda outlines in detail the sequence of events that led to the alleged assault and some of the dozen or so interviews conducted by Richard Tracy, chief investigator for the Attorney General’s Office.

Eight police officers, including Freda, are mentioned in the filing, including one state trooper and seven Salem officers. Six of those officers were at the scene of the arrest last fall. A Salem firefighter who responded also was interviewed.

It started just before 2 a.m. Oct. 6 when N.H. State Police Trooper Andrew Monaco heard a radio report of a high-speed chase on Interstate 93 south.

Windham police Sgt. Bryan Bliss was in pursuit of a Jeep Cherokee. Monaco took over as the lead pursuit vehicle near Exit 2. He reported the Jeep was going 90 mph to 100 mph. The Jeep got off the highway at Exit 1, speeding down Veterans Memorial Parkway, according to the report.

Monaco was advised to back down. The Jeep eventually turned on to Main Street, where Salem police Sgt. Marc Prescott took over pursuit.

The chase ended when the Jeep pulled into the lot at Salem Nissan at 343 Main St. and the driver, later identified as Thomas Templeton, 39, jumped out and ran behind the dealership.

Monaco and Prescott found Templeton hiding in the brush and took him into custody without incident.

Those two officers were escorting a now handcuffed Templeton to the front of the car dealership when two more Salem officers arrived and took custody of him, Tracy wrote.

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