I-Team: Police officer charged with assault
East Greenwich police Lt. Paul Nahrgang surrendered to Rhode Island State Police Tuesday after an arrest warrant was issued for the officer.
He's charged with two misdemeanors for an incident that occurred at East Greenwich police headquarters on May 22.
State police told the NBC 10 I-Team that surveillance cameras inside the East Greenwich Police Department captured Nahrgang using excessive force and assaulting a 44-year-old man who was under arrest for malicious mischief.
"The confrontation became heated and Lt. Nahrgang lunged forward and grabbed the victim around the neck," said Maj. Todd Catlow of the Rhode Island State Police.
Police said the lieutenant told East Greenwich Police Chief Thomas Coyle that an incident had occurred. The chief watched the recorded video.
"The chief was very disturbed by what he saw on the video and contacted us to investigate," Catlow said.
Nahrgang was suspended with pay the following day, May 23. His yearly salary is $66,432, according to police payroll records. He didn't answer his door Wednesday afternoon when NBC 10 went to get his side of the story.
But Town Council President Michael Isaacs commented in a written statement.
"Lieutenant Nahrgang's conduct as alleged in the criminal complaint is contrary to the high standards of the East Greenwich Police Department and will not be tolerated. Lieutenant Nahrgang will remain suspended until further action can be taken against him as permitted by the Rhode Island Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights," Isaacs said in the statement.
"It's not something we like to do, but police officers are held to the same standard as every other citizen," Catlow said.
Coyle was reached by phone late Wednesday. He confirmed Nahrgang has been on the force for 10 years and has nearly 24 years of law enforcement service.
The chief said he would like the judicial process to take its course and wanted taxpayers to know "this incident is no reflection of the men and women who serve this department."