PLAISTOW — Police Chief Douglas Mullin is being investigated by the New Hampshire Attorney General due to recent allegations that he assaulted an officer in the department.
Town officials received a letter from state investigators Tuesday explaining that “based on information this office has received and reviewed to date” a criminal investigation into Mullin was launched.
Local officials were told to stop any investigation of their own “to preserve the integrity of our review,” the letter states.
Jeff Padellaro, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters 633, provided details on behalf of the police union. He did not identify the officer involved.
According to Padellaro, Mullin recently demanded to see a member in his office. That person showed up with a union representative, which is permitted by his contract.
“The chief started screaming and tried to kick out the union rep,” Padellaro said. “Because the situation was so volatile, the member said, ‘I’m trying to create a little space,’ and tried to back away. The chief grabbed him and tried to prevent him from leaving the office.”
Several witnesses were able to separate the two, Padellaro said, but not before the officer was assaulted. He did not provide specifics of the officer’s injuries, and whether he required any medical attention.
The union representative said he is not aware of how the AG became involved. He expressed concern only to Assistant Town Manager Greg Colby, the Human Resources Department and selectmen, he said.
He did not go directly to Town Manager Mark Pearson because of his close, personal friendship with Mullin.
“I don’t have confidence there would have been a transparent investigation,” Padellaro said.
Pearson was not available to comment on the situation Thursday.
Back in 2019, Pearson appointed Mullin to the top police job following the retirement of the previous chief.
Mullin told The Eagle-Tribune at the time that he worked under Pearson when they were both on the force in Salem, New Hampshire, and it was Pearson who approached him about the interim police chief job.
Mullin worked at the Salem Police Department for 23 years as a patrolman and then in the Detective Division, where he was in charge of the evidence room and some undercover assignments, he said.
When Mullin left Salem in 2008, he took an equivalent job at the Atkinson Police Department for two years. After the first year, he simultaneously served in the same capacity for Hampstead police.
Mullin told selectmen at the time that besides policing, he had a career as a private corporate pilot.
When asked about any prior concerns about Mullin and his interactions with union members, Padellaro said “there’s been some concern over the way he handles things.”