Former Brookline cop accused of using excessive force in 2009 arrested on the job in Salem

SALEM – A former Brookline police officer, once accused of using excessive force during a traffic stop in town, has been charged with assault and now fired from the Salem Police Department.

The New Hampshire attorney general’s office says now former Salem police officer Joseph Freda was charged last week with two counts of simple assault stemming from the Oct. 6 arrest of 39-year-old Thomas Templeton. Freda was put on paid leave when the investigation began Oct. 23 and was on unpaid leave until Town Manager Keith Hickey terminated his employment Tuesday, Jan. 21, upon recommendation from Police Chief Paul Donovan. They cited the town’s no-tolerance policy with respect to excessive use of force.

Freda is accused of striking Templeton in the head with a flashlight and stepping on his hand while Templeton was sitting on the ground, handcuffed.

Templeton was involved in a car chase that passed through Windham and Salem. When Templeton finally stopped his car, he ran into the woods and was pursued by several officers, including Freda.

When Templeton finally emerged from the woods, his left hand and head was
bloodied, according to a release from the attorney general’s office.

Templeton needed five staples in his head to stitch up the laceration, according to published reports.

Another Salem officer said Freda told him he “whipped” Templeton with his flashlight, according to court documents.

This isn’t the first time Freda has been accused of being heavy-handed during an arrest.

In 2009, following a June 5 traffic stop, Brookline resident Sharon Ryherd accused Freda of using excessive force and charging her with a crime without cause.

Ryherd was pulled over by Freda for driving an uninspected motor vehicle and speeding. She told the officer she would get her car inspected the next day but was still ticketed by Freda.

When Freda informed Ryherd that she would not be able to drive home from the traffic stop, Ryherd sped away through a residential neighborhood, according to municipal records from Brookline.

Ryherd was arrested for disobeying a police officer, resisting arrest, reckless operation of a motor vehicle and speeding.

Ryherd reported her accusations against Freda to the board of selectmen and then-chief of police, Thomas Goulden. Her charges were later reduced to speeding, driving an uninsured vehicle and failure to yield for an emergency vehicle.

In Salem, Freda’s termination from Salem police was pending an administrative hearing this week, according to police.

“The Salem Police Department does not tolerate excessive use of force from its police officers,” a statement from Salem police reads. “The Salem Police Department has longstanding policies and procedures in place providing guidance for our officers … provides comprehensive, ongoing and mandatory training for all of its officers on all aspects of police activity, including training on arrest procedures and acceptable use of force.

“It is our expectation that these policies will be followed.”

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report. Bradford Randall can be reached at 594-6557 or Also, follow Randall on Twitter (@telegraph_bradr).