By PAULA TRACY InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – The Attorney General’s Office said two state troopers’ use of force was “legally justified” and did not violate an African American man’s civil rights in arresting him in Albany on May 20.
Attorney General Gordon MacDonald released the review his office made of the arrest on Thursday with redacted personal information, videos, and other documents related to the arrest of Jean Saint Preux, 34, who was pulled over for a vehicle registration violation.
Saint Preux claimed police targeted him because of his race. A video of the arrest which was viewed by over 300,000 people on Facebook, shows Saint Preux sitting in his vehicle, refusing to leave it while a state trooper tells him he is under arrest and to get out of the vehicle after she smashed the driver’s side window.
Neither Saint Preux nor the two officers, State Trooper Hawley Rae and Margaret Ready, agreed to be interviewed for the investigation, but lawyers for the troopers submitted letters on their behalf, the report said.
The video shows Saint Preux saying he was unaware why he is was under arrest.
“Get out of the vehicle you are under arrest,” the video shows officers saying.
“Although the State Police policy on the use of force was obtained, Trooper Rae and Trooper Ready’s tactics were not part of this review.
The Attorney General does not investigate or opine on the…procedures or tactics used by law enforcement officers.
“Instead, the Attorney General’s review of the officer-involved use of force incidents consist of a criminal investigation which is limited to determining whether officers complied with applicable law,” the report states.
And in this case, no violation of civil rights was found, according to the report.
On Tuesday, Saint Preux pleaded guilty to disobeying a police officer and received a $620 fine and 180 days in jail, both suspended upon good behavior, according to the Conway Daily Sun.
He was also fined $74 for having an uninspected vehicle. A charge of simple assault against Trooper Ready was placed on file and a second charge against Trooper Rae was dropped, the newspaper said.
The proceedings were in Conway Circuit Court before Judge Charles Greenhalgh.
A copy of the report and redacted information is here. https://www.doj.nh.gov/news/2020/20201008-albany-report.htm