SALEM, N.H. — A Massachusetts man has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct in a fight that involved parents and police at the Salem Icenter in December 2017.
Bob Andersen, 45, of Wilmington, pleaded guilty last week to the misdemeanor charge just before his trial was set to begin later this month. Andersen faces no jail time and was fined $500 by the court.
“My client plead to a lower-level misdemeanor to avoid the burden of a two-week trial,” Andersen’s attorney Michael Delaney said.
Andersen was originally charged with simple assault and criminal threatening of police — both of which carried potentially two to five years of jail time.
The state elected to drop those charges last week in the plea agreement with Andersen, Delaney said.
Legal trouble for the assistant youth hockey coach started when a cluster of parents were arguing after a game at the Salem Icenter on Dec. 2, 2017, according to police records.
Andresen and police dispute what occurred.
According to police, Andersen charged at one responding officer with his arms raised and hit another in the jaw with his leg.
Andersen said he was attempting to break up the fight between parents.
Cellphone video that captures the end of the fight shows Andersen screaming from the floor as four Salem police officers pin him down.
Evidence for Andresen’s defense centered on a 2018 audit of the Salem Police Department. The audit was ordered in March 2018 by Town Manager Chris Dillon to look at the department’s practices and procedures.
One of the cases highlighted in the audit was the Icenter fight. While preparing for trial, Andersen’s lawyer asked for an unredacted version of the police audit that included information about the fight.
Rockingham Superior Court Judge Andrew R. Schulman ruled partially in favor of Andersen, allowing the release of the culture section of the audit that mentioned the case at the ice rink.
“Andersen argues that the entire report is relevant and exculpatory,” Schulman wrote in a court order dated Dec. 28, 2018. “His defense in this case includes an allegation that the charges were brought in retaliation for an internal affairs complaint he made.”
The audit details the Salem Police Department’s informal internal affairs inquiry, which was informal because it was not a written complaint. The audit says that Capt. Mike Wagner did not talk to independent witness, nor was there independent canvassing of the scene, nor did he notify the police officers involved in the inquiry.
“If this had gone to trial, the audit would have been a focal point — and the state knew that,” Delaney said.