Officer Eugene Stahl who is a police officer in Pelham, NH has been disciplined for anger, and excessive force. His own Police Chief feels that he if Stahl is allowed to retain his job, it would cause threat to those that live in their town.
Attorney for the Police Department, Peter Nicosia detailed Stahl’s poor handling of a drunk driving arrest of a 23-year-old female back in January of this year. Stahl violated various policies and procedures on how to interrogate a suspect. Using abusive language is not at all tolerated, necessary or excusable under any circumstances, which is one of the mistakes Stahl made during this arrest. Forgetting to Mirandize a suspect almost always leads to a dismissal of the case in court and Stahl did not Mirandize her. It was further said that there was an “improper custodial environment.”
Stahl’s attorney David Slawsky speaks to an incident that occurred in October of 2012 where Stahl was one of three officers involved in a shooting that thankfully had no fatalities. The suspect took them on a high=speed chase, in the end the shooting was proven to be justified by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office.
The fact that the female suspect in January and the male suspect from October 2012 are about the same age and apparently triggered a connection in Stahl’s mind.
Further there was an incident in 2007 he stopped a car with two teen-age boys involved in a hit-and-run accident. Upon leaving his vehicle, Stahl had his gun drawn at the boys and was flailing the gun around recklessly near the young boys still while putting the bos in handcuffs. There was a school bus of children nearby.
Stahl told a dispatcher that he wanted to punch a woman in the face during a radio complaint.
I understand the need for an attorney to defend his client as he is hired to do, the reality is that this story is about more than his client and what has happened to him that maybe he hasn’t found time to emotionally deal with because he’s working. He’s been hired to protect and serve the citizen’s of Pelham, NH. It is necessary to do the job in the manner in which he is required to do it. Following all rules and with the utmost precision. One wrong thing can get a case thrown out of court and put a dangerous suspect back on the streets to continue their reign of terror.
I’m proud that Stahl is a two-time winner of the state’s DWI Hunter Award. But, this does not negate any of his own wrong doings while conducting his duties as an officer. Just as his suspects must be held accountable for their actions, he too must be responsible for his. 12 years shows an amazing commitment to his job and I applaud that. But that commitment does not give license to his wrong doings.
I hope that in the end the decision made by the Pelham selectmen is truly the right one for all involved.