Aldermen commend police handling of Hanover Street melee

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Posted by Harles Barks on Monday, May 14, 2018 –

MANCHESTER, NH – Alderman Joe Levasseur took a few minutes during the May 15 Board of Aldermen meeting to commend Manchester police officers who responded May 11 to a noise complaint outside the Glow Bar on Hanover Street. The incident resulted in six arrests and two police officers sustaining injuries.

A video recorded by one of the patrons of Glow Bar was posted on Facebook (see above).

Police reported that at about 1 a.m. on May 11 several officers responded to the Glow Bar where a group of men were outside yelling at the club’s bouncers. As officers attempted to get the crowd to disperse some of the people in the group became combative with police, refusing to leave, and allegedly attacked some of the officers. Additional officers were sent to the scene to assist.

Levasseur said it was commendable that officers remained composed and were able to contain the situation without use of the police dog, which was on the scene. He asked Chief Nick Willard to come to the microphone during the meeting to talk about the training city officers receive.

Willard explained that the police K9 in this instance was “used for intimidation,” adding that the dog’s handler would have had to focus attention on one particular individual if deployed, and opted to help with crowd control. 

Chief Nick Willard addresses an incident on May 11 during which two officers were injured. MPTV

“It was remarkable,” Willard said of his officers’ composure during a scene that involved several patrons challenging their “lawful order” to disperse. Willard mentioned two officers suffered concussions and are still off duty due to injuries. 

“The first officer asked everyone to get on the sidewalk,” Willard said. “I watched three different Facebook videos of the incident, and was humbled by their reaction after the fight,” including a violent punch to the back of the head of one of the female officers. “Even after that, with eight people in cuffs, there are other people putting cell phones in their faces and challenging officers. Each one remained calm, they gave names and badge numbers, it really is a testament to the training they’ve had –  we train more than any other agency in the state.” 

Willard said as a department, part of officers’ regular training includes reviewing other police incidents around the country as teaching moments, talking about how they’d handle similar situations here.

“We’re incessantly pushing out that message that  when the fight’s over – and I hate to say it because the officers hate it – but I call it compassionate policing –  when you’re in the fight you fight and you fight to survive,” Willard says. “You can see it on the camera, one officer takes someone down rather violently, but he needed to. But once that gentleman’s in handcuffs, the fight’s over, you pick them up and dust them off and treat them with respect.”

Levasseur harkened back to the early 2000s when there were several “nuisance bars” in the city that required updated regulations to maintain control.

“Is this a problem with this particular bar that we need to move in on?” Levasseur asked.

Willard told the Aldermen that police have instructed owners of the Glow Bar that they must hire two police officers each night they’re open, and if they don’t, they’ll challenge their business license. He also said police have been in contact with Liquor Enforcement, and owners must meet compliance measures, “or we’ll close them down.”

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