Haverhill officer faces assault charges  

Photo by Mike LaBellaHaverhill police officer Carlos Arriaga, right, stands next to his defense lawyer, Gerard LaFlamme of Haverhill, during a hearing in Newburyport District Court on Aug. 23.

Police charged a fellow Haverhill officer with domestic assault after he threw a metal water bottle that hit his girlfriend in the face during an argument, according to court documents.

Officer Carlos Arriaga, 48, was arraigned on charges of assault and battery on a family/household member and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on Aug. 8 in Haverhill District Court.

Judge Stephen Abany released Arriaga on personal recognizance, with the condition that he not abuse the alleged victim.

Abany ordered the case be transferred to Newburyport District Court, where Arriaga was essentially re-arraigned last week, according to court officials.

During the hearing, Arriaga stood silently beside his defense lawyer, Gerard LaFlamme of Haverhill, who requested the hearing be continued "for further pretrial" on Sept. 27. There was no indication of a plea in court paperwork.

Judge Peter Doyle granted LaFlamme's request. According to court officials, the same conditions of release set by Abany are still in effect.

According to court documents, on Aug. 7 at 11:55 p.m., Arriaga called the officer-in-charge at the Haverhill police station to request a senior officer come to his home.

At the same time, a woman called 911 also asking for police to come to Arriaga's home saying she was being attacked, according to Sgt. James Keenan's report. The call was interrupted, then the woman called the station back to say she was assaulted by Arriaga and wished to file a complaint.

Arriaga told Keenan that he and the 39-year-old woman from Salem, New Hampshire, arrived at his home, had a few drinks and then went to bed, according to police.

Arriaga said that while in bed, his phone lit up with a Gmail notification. The woman told other officers that Arriaga had received a message from Match.com. She asked him to see it and an argument ensued, according to the report.

Arriaga told Keenan that during the argument the woman packed up her belongings and both of them ended up in his garage, according to police.

Arriaga said the woman began backing her car out, diagonally, and it appeared she was going to hit something, according to the report.

Arriaga opened her car door and yelled at her to pull back in and straighten her car out, according to the report.

Arriaga said some of the woman's property fell out of the car and he picked it up and threw it all back into the car, then slammed the door shut and told her to leave his property, according to the report.

He said he then called the police station to report what had happened, according to police.

Arriaga told Keenan that he did not touch the woman, but that he did call her some names, according to the report.

The woman told police that while Arriaga was throwing her belongings back into her car, she was struck in the face with a metal water bottle near her right eyebrow, according to the report.

There was no visible redness or bruising and the woman declined medical attention, according to the report.

Police said the woman did not say that she feared Arriaga.

Keenan noted in his report that Arriaga was placed under arrest and he turned over his service weapon, ammunition and license to carry, all of which were secured in the police station's armory.

Mayor James Fiorentini said police Chief Alan DeNaro placed Arriaga on paid leave shortly after his arrest.

"He's innocent until proven guilty and the law says he has to be paid," Fiorentini said.

The mayor said that Arriaga's absence will be filled through officers working overtime.

"There are no people to replace him and it's the same as if an officer were on sick leave or vacation," Fiorentini said.

Fiorentini said a hearing will be held for Arriaga, likely after his court case is decided.

City Solicitor William Cox said the city must conduct its own investigation into the matter before any decisions can be made regarding Arriaga's employment status.

"Every case is looked at on its merits and strengths and a decision is made," Cox said. "Just because someone gets arrested doesn't mean they will be convicted. We have to do our own investigation and based on what we know to be the situation and the facts of the case."

 

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