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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Police Department Fails to Follow Procedures in Chief's Son's Case

Brookline Police Department fails to follow procedures in chief’s son’s case
The Nashua Telegraph by Hattie Berstein - August 13, 2011

BROOKLINE, NH – Although the state’s top law enforcement agency makes it clear that a police officer should investigate if domestic abuse is suspected, Brookline Police didn’t do so after an alleged domestic incident between the police chief’s son and his girlfriend. On the day of a reported domestic altercation between Jonathan Quigley and Nicole Shank on May 19, a Brookline Police officer met with Quigley, saw marks on his face, and had knowledge there was a firearm and children in the home but didn’t initiate a domestic violence investigation, according to court records. Shank later reported she was punched and thrown by Quigley and in return pushed him during the incident, according to documents at Milford District Court. Asked why there was no domestic abuse report, Police Chief William Quigley III, who is Jonathan Quigley’s father, said the incident didn’t warrant follow-up. “There was no call for service, as far as I can remember,” William Quigley said Friday. Yet there was contact between the younger Quigley and police after the incident. The younger Quigley contacted his father at 2:44 p.m. and received a return call from him a minute later, according to phone logs filed in court. About a half-hour after that, Jonathan Quigley contacted the Brookline duty officer, Master Patrolman Robert Pelletier, who is also a friend, on his private cell phone. In testimony during a hearing in Milford District Court on June 21, when Shank requested a protective order, Pelletier testified he met the younger Quigley at the station that afternoon and that marks on his face “were consistent” with having been struck. Why the Brookline Police Department didn’t initiate a domestic violence investigation is unclear, given Pelletier’s testimony in response to questions from attorney Robert Parodi, who was representing the younger Quigley. Pelletier said Quigley, who returned from a tour of duty in Iraq earlier in May, appeared to have been hit on the face, and he told Parodi that Quigley didn’t want to talk about what had happened. He also said Quigley didn’t want an officer to go talk with Shank. The issue at the hearing was Shank’s request for a restraining order. Standard police protocol for responding to incidents of suspected domestic violence is outlined by the attorney general’s office. Officers responding to cases of possible domestic violence are directed to interview the suspect and victim and follow a checklist of questions about children, witnesses, evidence and more, according to the AG’s document “Law Enforcement: A model protocol for police response to domestic violence cases.” Included is a method of presumptive arrest, which directs a police officer who has probable cause to believe a crime of domestic violence has been committed to make an arrest, even if state law wouldn’t mandate an arrest.

Legal experts agree that domestic violence cases are among the most volatile and risky for all parties, including the responding police officers. When asked about his department’s domestic violence policies, William Quigley said he was “not familiar” with the state protocols. Asked for a copy of the Brookline Police Department’s policies and procedures on domestic abuse, Quigley asked for a signed written request and not a faxed copy. Later, Quigley said the department’s policies regarding domestic violence investigations were made “nonpublic” in 2007. He said it likely was made nonpublic to protect victims. The newspaper delivered a Right-to-Know request to Quigley on Friday asking for access to the policies. Questions about the case have come up before, including from the judge. During the June hearing, when Shank petitioned the court for protection, Judge Martha Crocker noted that phone logs showed a two-minute call between the police chief and his son on the day of the incident, contrary to what the chief testified in court. Altogether, three phone logs were presented as testimony: Shank’s copy of Jonathan Quigley’s phone calls; Chief Quigley’s phone record, with most calls blacked out; and Jonathan Quigley’s copy of his phone logs. A review of the phone logs by the attorney general’s office concluded the chief hadn’t perjured himself. According to the phone logs that Shank submitted, on May 19, the day of the incident, Jonathan Quigley called his father at 2:44 p.m. and a two-minute conversation followed. At 3:16 p.m., the younger Quigley called Pelletier on his private cell phone, and at 3:58 p.m., Jonathan Quigley called Shank. The calls to Pelletier and Shank were each one minute long.

In the days after the incident, police went to the home the couple shared with Shank’s two children on Route 13 four times, each visit a “civil standby,” a police term for keeping the peace while a person removes his belongings after a domestic problem: On May 21, Master Patrolman Douglas Barnett conducted the first “civil standby” at 11:48 a.m. The report indicated “No Crime Involved.” It said Quigley removed some personal items from the home. A second standby occurred less than two hours later at 1:10 pm., also done by Barnett. The report said “No Crime Involved” and noted that Quigley retrieved a propane grill. The third standby was recorded the following day, May 22, at 1:20 p.m., also by Barnett. The report said Quigley removed several more items, and “No Crime Involved.” The fourth standby was less than an hour later at 2:16 p.m., again by Barnett. The report said “No Crime Involved” and noted, “John retrieved some personal belongings and no one else was home.” Phone logs reveal communication between the younger Quigley and his father May 22. Jonathan Quigley called his father at 12:29 p.m., a call that lasted six minutes. At 12:42 p.m., the chief’s son called Hollis Communications, the police dispatch, and logged a one-minute call. And at 12:44 p.m. and again at 1:17 p.m., the younger Quigley called Barnett on his Police Department cell phone. The first call to Barnett lasted two minutes; the second was one minute long. In addition, Chief Quigley had said if Shank had called him or the Police Department, he would have referred the matter to State Police to avoid a conflict of interest, according to an article in the New Hampshire Union Leader. The chief said the only time the department became involved was when his son requested a civil standby, according to the Union Leader. On July 13, Jonathan Quigley’s lawyer, Parodi, filed a motion for reconsideration and to vacate; in effect, asking the judge to drop the temporary restraining order. The judge’s decision is pending. Hattie Bernstein can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 24, or hbernstein@

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