Man serving time for murder files lawsuit from prison against the city, MPD officers

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Jonathan Bijeol appeared at an arraignment Jan. 30, 2017, in Manchester District Court on second-degree murder charges. Photo/Carol Robidoux

CONCORD, NH — A prisoner serving a 30-years-to-life sentence for beating a man to death is suing Manchester police for forcibly restraining him in an ambulance while he was receiving medical treatment for a heroin overdose a month prior to the murder.

Jonathan “Frenchy” Bijeol, 37, is representing himself (pro se)  in the lawsuit filed July 22 in U.S. District Court.  He is suing Manchester Police Officer Victoria Catano, Sgt. Richard W. Brennan, Sgt. Michael Biron, Capt. Michael J. Begley and former Manchester Police Chief Enoch “Nick” Willard, as well as the city which has yet to respond.  He has not filed suit against the American Medical Response employees who saved his life.

Bijou cites state law that says “a person who in good faith requests, or is the subject of a good faith request for medical assistance, shall not be arrested, prosecuted, or convicted for possessing, or having under his or her control, a controlled drug in violation of RSA 318-6:2, if the evidence for the charge was gained as a proximate result of the request for medical assistance.”

He contends Manchester police violated his rights when they used excessive force, arrested him and held him without cause.

Bijou was convicted in the Aug. 28, 2016 beating death of Richard Carlson, 61, of Manchester who was found dead in Prout Park at 300 Young St. in Manchester.

A little more than a month before the killing, Bijeol called a cab to pick him up at the corner of Hanover and Beech streets and take him to Granite State Collision on Candia Road where he worked.  

Bijeol was nodding off in the taxi when, on Candia Road, the driver pulled into MoJo’s parking lot at 2175 Candia Road because he wasn’t sure where Granite State Collision was located.  By then Bijeol was slumped over and unconscious.

The taxi driver called 911 and dispatch told him to get Bijeol out of the cab and start CPR until the American Medical Response ambulance could get there.

The ambulance drove up and personnel administered two doses of Narcan, reviving Bijeol.  Officer Victoria Catano arrived as he was being treated by AMR employees.

A dispatcher informed Catano that Bijeol was out on parole and that a 72-hour hold was placed on him.

Ambulance employees, according to a police affidavit, told Catano that when they cut off Bijeol’s shorts, a set of keys fell out of his left pocket along with a small clear container with two small balls of a yellow wet substance and a hypodermic needle that appeared to have been used.  On the key chain, was a silver cylinder that contained a white hard-packed substance.

Catano took the items to her cruiser and later at the station the substance tested positive for heroin.

Once Bijeol was revived, he tried to walk and was “subdued” by the AMR employees who, he says in the lawsuit, were aided by Catano.  An AMR staffer, identified as John Doe, allegedly put a chokehold on him while another staffer, Jane Doe, executed a dual knee gravity press, Bijeol says in the lawsuit.

Catano grabbed his right wrist and then pulled his arm behind his back while forcing his wrist and elbow upwards, according to Bijeol.  Catano handcuffed his right wrist to the gurney, his full body weight resting on top of his arm.  Then he was strapped onto the gurney and taken to the hospital.

He was treated at the hospital and then transported to the police station, booked and then transferred to the Valley Street jail.

Bijeol says he was jailed for 11 days before being released.  There was no probable cause hearing and the possession charged was dropped without any explanation.


About this Author

Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.