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Nashua duck case: Two aldermen seek commissioner's resignation

Union Leader Correspondent

January 19. 2014 10:08PM

NASHUA — Two city officials say Police Commissioner Thomas Pappas should resign because of his involvement with state Rep. David Campbell and an accident in which the lawmaker ran over and killed five ducks.

"Commissioner Pappas should resign, but does not seem inclined to do so," said Alderman Ken Siegel, Ward 9. "... Now, we can only sit idly by and hope that the governor puts ethics ahead of politics."

Members of Nashua's police commission are appointed by the governor.

According to a police report, Campbell had a couple of drinks at a Crowne Plaza restaurant Dec. 23 and then ran over several mallard ducks with his BMW outside the hotel. Pappas, Campbell's friend and attorney, then picked up Campbell from the hotel.

Pappas contacted the police department about two hours after the accident to ask if Campbell could come to the police station the next day.

Campbell pleaded no contest to a charge of illegal taking of waterfowl. He was not charged with drunk driving, and has repeatedly said he was not intoxicated.

"I think the honorable thing would be to step away," Alderman-at-Large Diane Sheehan said of Pappas. "If he is in charge of deciding what is ethical for the police department, then I agree — I think the level of ethics we ask police to stand up to should be followed by its leadership, which needs to do the same."

Pappas, chairman of the Nashua Police Commission, has remained silent about his involvement in Campbell's accident, and has not returned repeated phone calls and emails seeking comment. The remaining two police commissioners — Thomas Maffee and Robert Valade — also are not commenting.

Attorney General Joe Foster said last week that his department is reviewing police reports and audio recordings from the incident to determine whether a further probe is necessary. However, Foster said an official investigation has not yet been opened. Police Chief John Seusing has maintained that Pappas' intervention did not influence Campbell's case.

"The Nashua Police Department looked into this incident at the Crowne Plaza thoroughly, and charged Mr. Campbell with what we thought was the most appropriate charge," Seusing said last week.

Campbell has repeatedly apologized for the incident. He paid a fine of $620 for the violation, a $75 restitution payment and a donation of $695 to New Hampshire Audubon.

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