CONWAY — Bartlett police are asking the circuit court to order the man whom they tased and pepper-sprayed during a traffic stop near Story Land in Glen to turn over his video footage of the incident. However, the defendant, a self-styled "American National," says he won't comply.
According to police, Cpl. Justin Washburn stopped Chris Spinney, 35, of Conway on June 5 for having an outdated inspection sticker on the windshield of the Ford Taurus he was driving.
Spinney claims police used excessive force.
According to Bartlett Police Chief Chris Keaton, Washburn asked Spinney for his license and registration and warned that failure to comply would result in being charged with disobeying a police officer. Spinney refused, and Washburn told him he was under arrest.
Flash-forward to June 10, when Keaton filed in circuit court a "motion to compel defendant and witness to provide cellphone video." The motion has not yet been ruled on.
The motion says that Washburn noticed that Heather Perry, 41, of Conway (Spinney's girlfriend)was recording him with her cellphone as he was telling Spinney he would be arrested for disobeying a police officer if he didn't produce his driver's license. Then, as Washburn opened the passenger door to help Perry out of the car, he said he saw Spinney recording Washburn interact with her.
In his motion, Keaton wrote: "The Bartlett Police Department and the Bartlett Selectmen's office has received an email from Christopher Spinney on June 8, 2020, outlining his status in the United States where he states he is not a citizen of the United States and that he is an American National and a NH State citizen.
"Since he alludes to being a New Hampshire State citizen, the laws governing the State of N.H. apply to him," he said.
"Based in the information in the above narrative, both Christopher Spinney and Heather Perry used their cellphones to record the interaction between Corporal Washburn and Mr. Spinney on Saturday, June 6, 2020, and therefore the cellular telephones contain evidence of some of the violations committed by Mr. Spinney on that date."
For his part, Spinney filed a copy of his bail order paperwork, on which he wrote: "I DO NOT ACCEPT THIS OFFER TO CONTRACT AND I DO NOT CONSENT TO THESE PROCEEDINGS."
He signed his name in both places adding "Without prejudice UCC 1-308."
According to Spinney, "UCC 1-308" means "all rights reserved."
Spinney's criminal history includes convictions for drug charges, driving while intoxicated and violation of probation.
During the stop, Washburn tried to break the window of the Ford Taurus Spinney was driving but wasn't able to. Washburn asked Perry and her young son to exit the vehicle. Washburn then unlocked the car doors and went to the driver’s side to take Spinney into custody.
Keaton said Spinney resisted, so Washburn tased him. Spinney reportedly continued to resist, so he was pepper-sprayed by Jackson Police Officer Martin Bourque, whom Washburn had radioed for backup.
Spinney was charged with disobeying an officer, resisting arrest, driving after suspension or possession of license required and uninspected motor vehicle. He was given a court date of July 14.
On Wednesday, Perry, in response to a letter that suggested Spinney should have complied with the officer, sent the Sun her account of the traffic stop.
"Though Chris and I do not agree or have the same beliefs or opinions when it comes to certain things, what that guy in blue who was wearing a badge did that day to my family was wrong," said Perry.
"That man acting as an 'officer of the law' attempted to smash a window out with a 4-year-old strapped in his car seat right 'in the line of fire,' had that window broken," she said.