By Mike LaBella
---- — HAVERHILL — With his wife by his side, former Methuen city solicitor Maurice LaRiviere faced a judge in Haverhill District Court yesterday on multiple charges stemming from an incident in which he allegedly struck a police officer in the face after failing to stop.
Shortly before he was arrested, LaRiviere, 62, of 15 Sunridge Road, Windham, N.H., was driving his car on Washington Street when he encountered an officer directing traffic at the site of a disabled motor vehicle, police said.
The officer said LaRiviere got so angry that he continuously honked his horn, flailed his arms, swore at oncoming traffic and at one point gripped the steering wheel of his car as if he was trying to remove it. When the officer ordered LaRiviere to pull over and show him his license and registration, LaRiviere yelled “no,” then drove off in the direction of River Street, according to a police report.
LaRiviere was stopped a short distance away and when police tried to place him under arrest, he allegedly struck one of the officers. Police said that when they brought him to the police station, LaRiviere tried to headbutt an officer. After complaining of chest pains, LaRiviere was taken by ambulance to Merrimack Valley Hospital. According to police, LaRiviere was released on $40 bail at 10:04 p.m.
LaRiviere was charged with assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, refusing to identify himself to a police officer, and failure to stop for a police officer.
“This was kind of a strange event he appeared a bit out of control,” said Assistant District Attorney John DePaulo said at LaRiviere’s arraignment. “I don’t know if there’s some family member here with him, but it looks like some sort of an episode...”
According to a police report, at approximately 3:06 p.m on Wednesday, Haverhill Police Patrolman Carlos Arriaga was directing traffic at 149 Washington St., the site of a disabled motor vehicle. Arriaga wrote that a driver, who was subsequently identified as LaRiviere, stopped his car and began to continuously honk his horn. He was also flailing his arms and swearing at oncoming traffic. The report said the officer approached LaRiviere and advised him to calm down, but LaRiviere yelled at him that he wanted to go. The report said LaRiviere grabbed the steering wheel of his car with both hands, “as if he was attempting to pull it off,” and was yelling so loudly the officer couldn’t understand what he was saying.
“The veins were popping from his neck, his face turned red, he was grinding his teeth and was spitting as he yelled,” Arriaga said in his report.
LaRiviere refused to show the officer his license and registration, and drove off in the direction of River Street, the report said.
Arriaga notified other officers to be on the lookout. A short time later, officers Stephen Iannalfo and George Dekeon stopped LaRiviere at 790 River St. They requested backup saying LaRiviere lunged at them, had struck Dekeon in the left side of his face with his forearm and resisted being placed under arrest.
LaRiviere was taken to the police station for booking, and while officers tried to remove him from their cruiser, he tried to kick and headbutt one of the officers, the report said. Police said that after LaRiviere was booked, Trinity Ambulance arrived to treat him as he was complaining of pain in his left shoulder. When he complained of chest pains, LaRiviere was taken to Merrimack Valley Hospital.
LaRiviere, who said very little during the hearing, said his wife and his sister were with him in the courtroom. LaRiviere’s wife of nearly 37 years was allowed to stand at his side for the remainder of the hearing.
Judge Steven Abany released LaRiviere on his own recognizance but warned him that if he got into trouble with the law while his case was pending he could be held for up to 60 days without bail. Abany ordered LaRiviere to appear Jan. 3 for a pretrial hearing.
LaRiviere was at the center of a sexual harassment suit that cost Methuen more than $725,000. In January, Methuen city councilors ended a six-year legal battle when they agreed to settle out of court with former Methuen legal secretary Fulya Metin Campanelli for $250,000. The city’s legal fees to defend itself came to almost $475,000. Campanelli was allegedly sexually harassed in Methuen City Hall in 2005 by LaRiviere, her-then boss who was the city solicitor.
Campanelli sued LaRiviere and the city in 2007, saying Methuen officials were negligent in dealing with her claims of sexual harassment against LaRiviere. After she complained to police, detectives used a secret camera and said they recorded LaRiviere on videotape kissing and making advances toward Campanelli in his City Hall office. LaRiviere said previously his relationship with Campanelli was consensual. LaRiviere resigned as city solicitor on Feb. 16, 2005, after police confronted him with the surveillance tape.