A Keene man was arrested Sunday on allegations that he punched a neighbor and threatened him and others with a handgun, though his lawyer says the police’s account is “less than half of the story.”
David E. Brown, 30, was arraigned Monday on charges of felony criminal threatening and misdemeanor simple assault.
According to an affidavit written by Keene police Officer Mark W. Cotton, police responded to Grove Street around 6:15 p.m. for a reported assault. The alleged victim, Patrick Hebert, 21, a resident of that road, was bleeding from a head injury, Cotton wrote.
Cotton wrote that Hebert and other witnesses reported that Brown had struck him and then pulled out what they believed to be a gun. According to the affidavit, Hebert told police that Brown said something like, “Who wants to catch a .40 cal?”
At Brown’s arraignment Monday in Cheshire County Superior Court, Deputy County Attorney Kathleen G. O’Reilly said police later found guns at Brown’s home, including a .40 caliber. According to Keene police Lt. Steven Tenney, the search turned up real firearms in addition to a BB gun.
Brown was released on personal recognizance bail provided he obey a set of conditions, including that he not possess firearms, live in a different part of town and have no contact with Hebert or others involved in the incident.
According to Cotton’s affidavit, Hebert told police he and some friends had been outside his apartment helping a friend with a flat tire when Brown, who lives nearby on Water Street, exchanged words with him and then came across the street to confront him.
Cotton wrote that Hebert said he retreated to his porch and Brown came up the steps and punched him. The two ended up in the street, and Hebert’s friends came over to help him, according to the affidavit.
At some point during the altercation, Hebert said, Brown pulled out what appeared to be a handgun, Cotton wrote.
Cotton wrote that police interviewed six other people who were present, who corroborated Hebert’s story.
At least one person at Hebert’s home recorded the incident on his phone, Cotton wrote.
A video that appears to match portions of Cotton’s description of that recording was posted on the social-media site Reddit Monday.
The video appears to start from Hebert’s perspective, and shows Brown standing at the edge of the road, a woman holding on to his shirt. “Get off our property,” a man on the front steps, likely Hebert, says.
“Shut your door, ‘cause you’re not gonna like what happens!” the woman yells as she starts to drag Brown away by the shirt. “I’m telling you, shut your door!”
Meanwhile, the man on the porch keeps telling them to leave.
“We’re on our property, you’re in our face, we weren’t talking to you, we were helping our friend who had a flat tire,” he says. “Please get away from here; you look really ridiculous right now.”
The woman keeps pleading with them to close the door, as she tries to pull Brown away by the arm.
“I look [expletive] ridiculous, bro?” Brown says.
“Yes, you do,” the man on the porch says.
Brown pulls himself away from the woman and rushes toward Hebert.
That video seems to cut off there, and the file switches to what appears to be a different recording from a few feet inside the house. It shows Brown striking Hebert just outside the front door and Hebert falling. Someone else rushes outside to engage with Brown, and the ensuing scuffle moves back into the road. Hebert gets up and runs over. Another man comes over and breaks up the fight.
Brown takes a couple steps away, then turns around, holding a small dark object in his hands.
O’Reilly, the prosecutor, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the video posted to social media.
At Monday’s arraignment, Brown’s lawyer, Alex Parsons, called the police’s version of events incomplete.
“We believe that only half or less than half of the story is provided in the affidavit, and we will be doing investigation about that,” Parsons said.
Parsons noted that the video referenced in the affidavit does not show how the alleged altercation began. He said that, according to Brown and his fiancée, it started when someone Brown knew was “assaulted” and he went to her defense, then “was attacked by multiple people, putting him very much in danger.”
Parsons said Brown’s fiancée had been at his apartment when she heard a commotion, looked outside and “saw, through the window, Mr. Brown being kicked in the face by one individual and surrounded by about six other individuals.” Parsons did not identify those people.
Parsons also said it was problematic that, according to the affidavit, police seem to have interviewed witnesses in one another’s presence. Cotton wrote that the six people who corroborated Hebert’s statement “were interviewed separately, yet in the same room.”
Cotton was not on duty early Tuesday afternoon. Tenney, the police lieutenant, could not immediately confirm how the witnesses were interviewed.
Parsons declined to comment further on the case Tuesday.