NEFAC: N.H. Law Requires Release of Report on Excessive Force Allegations Against Officer

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |


The New England First Amendment Coalition recently argued for the release of an investigation into allegations of excessive force by a police officer in New Hampshire.

“Transparency and accountability lead to trust between the citizenry and the government,” explained NEFAC in an Aug. 2 amicus brief. “The need for such trust is critical when the governmental actors are authorized to effectuate arrests and to use force when necessary.”

In 2018, the town of Canaan, N.H., hired a company called Municipal Resources to investigate an allegation of excessive force against one of its officers and to issue a report on its findings. The Canaan Police Department later dismissed the allegations as “unfounded” and refused to release the report under the New Hampshire Right to Know Law.

On behalf of NEFAC and Union Leader Corp., attorney Gregory V. Sullivan wrote in the amicus brief that:

“The release of the unredacted materials currently under seal in this case will ensure that the citizens of New Hampshire are able to fully assess the conduct of a serving police officer and of the thoroughness and fairness of those entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing police officers. The public’s overwhelming interest in the proper administration of justice clearly outweighs any alleged privacy rights of [the police officer] and the government’s speculative interest in non-disclosure.”

NEFAC is the region’s leading advocate for the First Amendment and the public’s right to know about government. Learn more about how NEFAC is protecting the free press and open government in New England.

NEFAC was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public’s right to know. We’re a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society. Our members include lawyers, journalists, historians, academics and private citizens.

Our coalition is funded through contributions made by those who value the First Amendment and who strive to keep government accountable. Please make a donation here.

Major Supporters of NEFAC include Hearst Connecticut Media Group, Paul and Ann Sagan, The Boston Globe, WBUR, Boston University and the Robertson Foundation.