EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 21, 2014

Salem police officer terminated

SALEM — The town has fired a police officer charged with assaulting a suspect.

Town Manager Keith Hickey announced this afternoon that Officer Joseph Freda has been terminated, effectively immediately. He declined to comment further.

Freda, 33, was charged with two counts of simple assault for allegedly hitting Thomas Templeton in the head and groin with a flashlight and stepping on his hand while arresting him Oct. 6 following a pursuit. He was placed on unpaid leave by Salem police.

Hickey said in a statement that he terminated Freda upon the recommendation of police Chief Paul Donovan. He said the town has a no tolerance policy for excessive use of force.

Freda was scheduled to have an administrative hearing yesterday but waived the hearing, Hickey said.

He was arrested last week following an internal investigation by Salem police and an investigation by the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office.

Freda was released on $2,500 personal recognizance. He is scheduled to be arraigned in 10th Circuit Court in Salem on Feb. 24.

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