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Laconia police use Taser, pepper spray against man

LACONIA — Police used a Taser and pepper spray to subdue a city man who they say burned items belonging to his estranged wife and then scuffled with police Monday.

John W. Swett, 53, of 53 Gale Ave., was charged with criminal mischief (domestic violence-related), disorderly conduct, obstructing government administration, resisting arrest/detention and two counts of simple assault.

Police were called for a domestic dispute at Swett's residence and found Swett burning items in a fire pit just before 4 p.m. Several boxes of what appeared to be items belonging to his wife also were seen near the firepit. The couple is separated, police said.

When an officer confronted Swett, the situation escalated and Swett went into his house. "Swett returned to the fire scene enraged," a police news release said. He ignored warnings to not interfere, continuing to be verbally combative, then went over and turned off the water being used by a police sergeant to extinguish the smoldering fire before returning to the house.

The sergeant went over to turn the water back on, and Swett rushed outside toward the sergeant, according to police.

An officer attempted to stop Swett, who responded by grabbing the officer's arm and body. The sergeant deployed his Taser, neutralizing the threat from Swett.

Swett was handcuffed and then "became combative" and slipped the right cuff from his wrist and "engaged in a physical fight" with one of the officers.

A sergeant used pepper spray and officers got him in handcuffs. He was treated at the police station for what police said were very minor injuries.

Swett, who refused the services of a bail commissioner, was taken to the Belknap County jail and will be arraigned Tuesday in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia District Division.


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