A domestic violence arrest over the weekend in North Attleborough that was captured on video erupted into a physical confrontation between police and the suspect after the man taunted officers and became combative with them while refusing to obey their commands, police said.
A plea of not guilty was entered for the suspect, Joe Perry, who is in his early 20s, at his arraignment Tuesday on a slew of charges including assault and battery and four counts of assaulting a police officer, said Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for the Bristol district attorney.
Perry’s lawyer, Theodore J. Koban, said Perry is in the care of the state Department of Mental Health, though he did not say why.
“He apparently went off his medications and had an incident,” Koban said by phone.
A blurred amateur video of the arrest on Sunday, which television stations broadcast Monday and which was uploaded to YouTube, at one point appears to show the hulking Perry lunging and swinging at officers, who strike him with batons and repeatedly order him to the ground.
Officers appear to continue striking Perry after he is on the ground.
Koban said in a follow-up e-mail that he had not yet formed an opinion on whether police used excessive force.
“The real question may be when was enough enough,” Koban wrote. “It is impossible to make a conclusion on what is ‘excessive’ without knowing all of the facts surrounding the matter and sometimes even then it may be difficult.”
In a statement issued Monday, North Attleborough police said a woman had reported that Perry, her former boyfriend, was strangling her and trying to keep her from calling police. She eventually escaped. The statement did not identify Perry by name.
Police said that he laughed at the first two officers who approached him outside the woman’s home and said, “There are just two of you? You better call for backup.”
“The man was immediately combative with officers and entirely noncompliant to police instructions,” the statement said. “The man refused to lie on the ground as instructed. Instead, he took up a fighting stance with his fists clenched and raised.”
The statement continued, “We are aware that the end of the incident was captured on video. As we do with every ‘use of force’ incident, all information is being thoroughly reviewed.”