After receiving a neighbor’s complaint about a disturbance, Haverhill police officers knocked on Hector Nunez’s door Saturday morning to investigate.
Nunez, who had just gotten home with his wife, asked who was knocking.
“They said, ‘police,’ and I thought it was my friend joking around,” he said in a phone interview with Photography is Not a Crime Wednesday night – 12 hours after I had posted the video of his encounter with police that left some questions unanswered.
Nunez, 23, opened the door and discovered it was, in fact, three police officers who began asking questions.
The cops were called by his downstairs neighbor, who is the building’s maintenance man and has had a long-running dispute with Nunez and his wife over repairs that were never done, he said.
The Nunez’s have already told them they’re moving out this month, so the landlord and maintenance man are not too happy about it.
So they call the cops at the slightest provocation. And in this instance, perhaps Nunez and his wife were a bit noisy as they walked up the stairs to their third-floor unit early Saturday morning.
“I hadn’t even taken off my jacket yet. We had just stepped inside.
“When I opened the door, they wanted to speak to my wife, but she was on the back porch smoking a cigarette,” he said. “They wanted to check on her welfare.”
“I told them to go around back and talk to her.”
In other words, he was not allowing them into his home. And they did not have a warrant.
“The cop then says I’m a wise-ass and pushes me down and walks inside,” Nunez said. “I ran after him and told him, ‘you assaulted me.”
“He turns around and takes a swing at me. Then my wife comes back inside and said ‘what are you doing in my home?”
That was when Nunez ran into his bedroom and turned the camera on, which shows the officers standing outside his bedroom door, proving that they did enter his home without a warrant.
However, in the report police filled out from that call, which Nunez sent me, they claimed that Nunez and his wife refused to let them inside.
They apparently left out the part where they threatened to arrest Nunez for recording them.
Nunez shut off the camera because he knew they would arrest him.
“I can’t afford to get arrested,” he said. “I have a one-year-old daughter I need to care for.
“The other cop was already taking out his handcuffs. I didn’t want to go to jail.”
Once the video was turned off, the cops threatened to arrest him if he uploaded the video to Youtube, which he obviously did.
“I told them that it’s because cops like you that citizens don’t have trust in the system,” Nunez said.
“They said, ‘If you don’t like it, go back to your own country.’
“That was when I broke down in tears,” said Nunez, who was born in the Dominican Republic, but has lived in the United States since he was one-year-old.
“I told them to get the fuck out of my house.”
“They said, ‘we’re about to arrest you.’
“I said on what charges and he looked me dead in the eye and said, ‘we will write down whatever is necessary to get you in handcuffs.’”
“That shocked me, you don’t get that in your own home,” he said.
The police eventually left without making any arrests, leaving Nunez with injured wrists and broken pride.
Later that morning, he went to the hospital and was diagnosed with contusions, according to the documents he sent me, which is the medical term for bruises.
He would like to file a complaint against the Haverhill police officers, whose names are J. Barbieri, Dana Burrill, Jr. and M. Shinners.
Instead, he contacted the ACLU, which is looking into the matter.