inside sources print logo
Get up to date New Hampshire news in your inbox

Fired Cops and ‘Defund the Police’ Activists Sit On NH House Criminal Justice Committee

One is a former cop who is fighting to keep the records surrounding his firing from the force secret.

Another is a progressive who has spoken at “defund the police” rallies urging drastic restrictions on policing.

And another used her social media account to echo antisemite Louis Farrakhan’s language about Jews being “termites.”

What do they all have in common?

They all play a key role in overseeing law enforcement and crime policy in the Granite State as members of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

The committee is currently chaired by Rep. Terry Roy (R-Deerfield) who was fired from the Gardner, Mass. police force for lying on his Massachusetts license to carry a firearm application, according to court records.

He serves alongside fellow Republican Rep. Jon Stone (R-Claremont), who is fighting a Superior Court order to unseal the Claremont Police Department internal affairs records that might allow voters to know why he was fired from being a police officer.

Democrats on the committee include Rep. Allisandra Rodríguez-Murray (D-Manchester), who supported the “defund the police” movement and has made problematic statements regarding allegations of antisemitism among her fellow progressives.



Peterborough Democrat Jonah Wheeler, another new member of the committee, also aggressively promoted the “defund the police” movement speaking at rallies advocating the policy.

Those members of the Criminal Justice committee will weigh in on proposed law changes, like the one to eliminate the physical fitness requirements for police officers, or one allowing convicted felons to own guns, or another legalizing Dimethyltryptamine, a powerful hallucinogenic drug used in some native peoples’ religious ceremonies.

Pat Sullivan, executive director of the New Hampshire Chiefs of Police Association, said he and other advocates in the law enforcement and public safety community, will work with whoever sits on the committee.

“The New Hampshire legislature is the third or fourth-largest legislative body in the world, we get what we get,” Sullivan said.

Neither Stone, Murray, nor Wheeler responded to requests for comment.

According to court records, Roy was fired from the Gardner, Mass. Police Department in 1999 after then-Police Chief James Dufort discovered Roy lied on his original application for his license to carry a firearm. Dufort sent Roy a letter detailing why he was revoking the license.

“I find that you are not a suitable person to be licensed to possess a firearm,” Dufort wrote.

According to a court opinion affirming the revocation, Dufort believed Roy lied on his original application when he claimed he never had a prior criminal conviction, and that he had never used drugs.

“Chief Dufort discovered, however, that Roy’s criminal records indicate that he twice appeared before a juvenile court on delinquency complaints, one for a false alarm and another for larceny. In addition, while serving in the United States Army in 1990, Roy admitted to possession and use of cocaine,” Judge Timothy Hillman wrote.

Roy would keep fighting his termination in court, which he said was payback from some in Gardner City Hall after he arrested a city councilor for drunk driving. He eventually reached a settlement with the city, had his personnel record cleared, and had his termination changed to a resignation. Even though Roy would get his firearms license back and go on to work as an investigator for the state of Massachusetts, his time in Gardner continues to be used by political enemies.

“Because they know, that no matter how small the position, whether it pays, is volunteer, or as in this case, actually costs the person money to do; the other party will attempt to drag them and their families through any mud they can find, regardless how old or how untrue,” Roy said. “I was a much younger and healthier man a quarter century ago when I originally fought and won this in the press and the courts. It would be nice to be able to stop at some point.”

Stone, like Roy, became politically active after his career in New Hampshire law enforcement ended with termination. He is currently a member of the Claremont City Council and won a close vote in November to take the seat in the state House.

In 2006, Stone was fired from the Claremont Police Department for reasons that have never been made public. This reporter made a 2020 Right to Know request seeking Stone’s internal affairs records, and Stone has been attempting to keep the investigations into his actions as a police officer, and the possible reasoning for his firing from the department, hidden from the public since.

Last month, Sullivan Superior Court Judge Martin Honigberg ordered Stone’s records released, but stayed that order to give Stone time to appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

House Majority Leader Jason Osborne (R-Auburn) dismissed concerns about Roy and Stone’s past.

“I can’t imagine why I would concern myself with the distant past HR file of a legislative colleague,” Osborne said.

Rodríguez-Murray and Wheeler have both been vocal in their support for defunding police. They are also part of the progressive Rights and Democracy organization that targeted former Rep. Nicole Klein Knight (D-Manchester) after she complained about Rep. Maria Perez’s anti-Semitic statements.

Wheeler was following Klein Knight out of a committee meeting when she got into a verbal exchange with him, during which she used the n-word several times. She later claimed she was using the word as an example of offensive, and not pejoratively directed at Wheeler, who is African American.

During the ensuing fallout, Rodríguez-Murray decried Klein Knight’s lack of an apology two weeks after the incident and employed an anti-Semitic trope.

“Two weeks without an apology from @RepNicoleK and I’m done expecting one. we kicked the termite nest and uncovered racism permeating further into the party than we could’ve anticipated, and I for one am done wasting my energy on so-called allies,” she wrote on Twitter.

The “termite nest” reference echoes a highly-publicized statement by notorious antisemite Louis Farrakhan who declared, “I am not an antisemite. I am anti-termite.”

Klein Knight herself had been a member of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee until the incident with Wheeler.

House Minority Leader Rep. Matt Wilhelm (D-Manchester) did not respond to a request for comment.

Sullivan said he and the police chiefs who go before the committee work hard to connect with all the members and educate them about the realities of police work. Ultimately, it is the voters who decide who gets to go to Concord he said.

“These are elected folks and their constituents elected them,” he said.

House Dem Says Cops a Danger to Black Men, Now Sits on Criminal Justice Committee

Democrats have replaced the representative who used the “N-Word” on the state House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee with the representative who said police are a danger to Black men.

It is yet another fiasco from the fallout of the Rep. Nicole Klein Knight (D-Manchester) incident, which continues to wreak havoc within the House Democratic Caucus.

Klein Knight was called out by Black and Latino progressives after she (allegedly) used the “N-Word” more than 20 times during a State House confrontation with 18-year-old Democratic activist Jonah Wheeler. During the encounter, Klein Knight also called security on Wheeler, who is Black.

Klein Knight, who has remained silent since NHJournal broke the story, was booted from her position on the Criminal Justice committee — which handles issues of policing and law enforcement — at the request of Democratic leaders. In a surprise — advocates for law enforcement call it shocking — move, Democrats replaced her with Rep. Manny Espitia (D-Nashua).

Espitia created a controversy of his own when he said Klein Knight’s decision to call State House security officers to confront Wheeler put the young man in danger because he is Black.

“Rep. Klein Knight represents one of the most racially diverse districts in the state and should therefore feel an even greater responsibility to uplift Black, Brown and Indigenous voices,” Espitia said last week. “Instead, she engaged in degrading, bigoted behavior against a young Black man, eventually calling security on him, despite being fully cognizant of the heightened dangers Black men face in this country in the presence of law enforcement.” [Emphasis added.]

Espitia issued a partial apology in response to widespread criticism.

“A statement I recently made in which I referenced the ‘heightened dangers Black men face in this country in the presence of law enforcement’ has been misrepresented in a news article to imply that I was calling the integrity of our Protective Services personnel into question,” Espitia wrote to his House colleagues. “I apologize for not choosing my words more carefully, and I appreciate you providing me the opportunity to make this important clarification.”

Espitia’s view, that systemic racism among law enforcement makes them a danger to people of color, is the basis of the #DefundThePolice movement supported by New Hampshire progressives. While it is embraced by the New Hampshire Black Lives Matter organization and the NH ACLU, polls show it is not a popular view among voters.

Espitia did not respond to a request for comment.

Now, Espitia sits on the committee that oversees law enforcement policy in the state, though his appointment was news to members of the committee contacted by New Hampshire Journal. Rep. Laura Pantelakos (D-Portsmouth) was surprised to learn of Espitia’s placement on the committee and she is not thrilled with his comment about police.

“I think that’s a stupid statement,” she said. 

Rep. John Burt (R-Goffstown), who also serves on the committee, was likewise surprised to learn Espitia was Klein Knight’s replacement.

“I personally think it’s the wrong pick. We deal strictly with law enforcement issues, if he’s already against law enforcement how can he be impartial on votes?” Burt said.

Hollis Police Chief Joseph Hoebeke, speaking as president of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, said Espitia’s comments are disheartening and frustrating. 

“You need to be very careful when you make assertions like that. I don’t think it’s appropriate for public officials to say things like that,” Hoebeke said.

Hoebeke said there is simply no data to prove New Hampshire police present a danger to Black men, and there has been a years-long movement in law enforcement to address community concerns. Instead of repeating the #DefundthePolice rhetoric, Espitia should reach out to law enforcement and engage in a conversation, Hoebeke said.

“We need to focus on relationships rather than make more divisions,” Hoebeke said. “Comments like that don’t help.”

Assistant Department of Safety Commissioner Eddie Edwards, said the state works hard to make sure all people are treated fairly. Edwards is Black and a former New Hampshire police chief.

“As someone with firsthand experience and accountability responsibilities, I believe no state is working harder to make certain all residents and visitors are treated with respect and dignity while interacting with law enforcement,” Edwards said.

Pantelakos would not say if Espitia’s views of law enforcement made him a good pick for the committee. Instead, she deferred to the judgment of House Minority Leader Renny Cushing (D-Hampton), who made the choice.

“I would assume that Minority Leader Cushing felt that (Espitia) could do the job. It’s not always easy to say who should be on the committee and who shouldn’t be on the committee,” she said.

Neither Cushing nor his deputy Rep. David Cote (D-Nashua), responded to a request for comment.