A Massachusetts police officer was arrested and placed on paid administrative leave by his department after an alleged assault on his 72-year-old neighbor over a paddleboard fight.
Sgt. Scott Saunders of the Hull Police Department was arrested on July 24 in Pembroke, Massachusetts. Saunders was charged with assault and battery on a person over 60. Saunders was placed on paid administrative leave by the Hull Police Department.
Harry Horsley, Saunders’ neighbor of 36 years, claimed the off-duty police officer struck his car with a paddleboard. That’s when the brouhaha allegedly started after a neighbor.
Horsley told Boston 25, “‘Why did you hit my car?’ That’s all I said. He bull-rushed me down to the ground, landed on top of me, I’m on my back. He pounded away. I’m like this trying to protect myself from getting hit worse.”
Video shows the confrontation mid-fight with Saunders on top of his 72-year-old neighbor. The men separate from each other, and trade shoves with each other. Horsley was seen bloodied and bruised after the physical altercation, including a large cut under his eye.
Horsley told police that Saunders “sucker punched” him and threw him to the ground.
Horsley said, “Here I am, 72 years old, I shouldn’t be taking a punch from anybody, let alone a police sergeant. He should have known that everything he has done was wrong. You don’t assault somebody that’s a senior. You just don’t do it – it’s unheard of.”
Saunders – an 18-year veteran of the Hull Police Department – told officers that Horsley did not provide him with enough space, which caused the confrontation.
“Saunders stated that Horsley then exited his vehicle and as he approached Horsley, Horsley raised his hand so he pushed Horsley to the ground and got on top of him and was holding Horsley down. Saunders stated that Horsley began to raise his hand again and Saunders punched Horsley once to the face,'” police wrote in the report, according to the Boston Globe.
Saunders added that he had previous disputes with his longtime neighbor.
WCVB-TV reported, “Saunders also provided home security video to the officers, who described it in the report.”
Saunders was arrested after officers reviewed the home security, according to the police report.
Hull Police Chief John Dunn said the department seized Saunders’ badge and service weapon. His license to carry was also suspended. Dunn said that an internal affairs probe is underway.
Saunders is scheduled to go to court in September.
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