Attorney for accused vigilante says he confronted homeless men in Wolfe Park ‘out of frustration’

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Geoff Brown entered ‘not guilty’ pleas during a court hearing Tuesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court North.

MANCHESTER, NH –Geoff Brown, clad in black tactical gear, armed with a Walther PPQ .45 caliber handgun and with his leashed dog garbed in a black tactical vest, went to Wolfe Park late Monday night to intimidate two homeless men, according to court documents.

Saying he was a police officer, Brown angrily confronted Terrance King, 34, and Nathan Dostie, 32, pointing a flashlight at them and telling them they were on private property and to “get the fuck outta here.”   He then opened his drop-leg style holster and allegedly pulled out a .45 caliber handgun and pointed it at them. 

Brown, 32, of 180 Woodbury St., is facing charges of criminal threatening, impersonating a police officer and criminal mischief.  Defense attorney Devon Ayer entered not guilty pleas to the offenses at a court hearing Tuesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court Northern District.

Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Mandy Werner asked Judge Amy Messer to order Brown held in preventive detention saying he acted as a vigilante and that “vigilante justice is extremely dangerous.”  She said the people in the park had the right to be there and it was not Brown’s role to remove them.

Ayer said Brown confronted the two men after months of frustration.  He had complained both to management of the Carisbrook apartment complex and to police about issues with homeless people staying on Carisbrooke property and finding drug paraphernalia in the area where he, his wife and daughter walked.

Ayer said her client adamantly denies he represented himself as a police officer, saying he told the two men he would call police if they didn’t leave, and he disputes the level of confrontation as alleged by police.

The incident happened at 11:12 p.m. Monday.  When police arrived Brown was wearing a black tactical vest, complete with a radio and multiple mag/radio pouches as well as a holster, a black American flag hat, black face mask covering his face, a black waist belt complete with empty pouches and a black drop/leg style holster containing the handgun.

Brown’s wife, Jessica, came outside that night after she heard her husband yelling at some individual.  She told police she did not see the altercation.

King told police he and Dostie were sitting by their tent, pitched near the tree line about 75 feet away from the parking lot of 180 Woodbury Ave. and within the park.  Brown, with his dog, approached them and shone his flashlight on them.  He began yelling at the two men, telling them this was private property and they needed to “get the fuck outta here.”

Both men knew they were in the park which is public property and that they did not have to leave so they initially refused.  They told police they asked Brown if he was an officer and he said he was and they needed to get the fuck out of here.

The men asked him for his badge number and the name of his supervisor.  Brown again said he was an officer and he didn’t need to provide that information, according to the sworn affidavit of Officer Nathan F. Harrington.

Brown then unholstered the handgun and pointed it at the two men although King said it was mostly pointed at him.  Brown continued to yell at them and King told police Brown began to “rack” the handgun – a total of three times – while continuing to yell at them.

Fearful, King began packing his belongings.  King said as they packed, Brown began throwing their property about.  He said Brown took his Microsoft Surface-Go Computer and smashed it on the ground.  Harrington said the screen to the device was completely smashed.

Ayer said her client adamantly denies the level of the confrontation as described by police and said though armed, Brown never unholstered his weapon.  He also denies touching the computer.

She said Brown was born In Manchester, attended Trinity High School and Southern New Hampshire University where he earned an undergraduate degree and master’s degree in accounting.

In March, because of COVID-19, he was laid off from his accounting job and now is at home helping his 8-year-old daughter with remote learning.  His wife works full-time in finance.

Ayer said he could afford to post $2,000 in bail and would abide by any conditions set by the court.

Judge Messer set bail at $2,000 cash and ordered Brown to relinquish all weapons, including four rifles he has stored in a locked safe at his home, and ammunition.  Police already confiscated his handgun.

He is not to go near the two men, nor enter or go within 50 feet of Wolfe Park. 

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Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.