Thursday, September 10, 2009

WSAR host Michael Herren facing assault with a dangerous weapon charge

The Herald News
Posted Sep 09, 2009 @ 07:30 PM
Last update Sep 09, 2009 @ 10:20 PM

Talk radio host Michael Herren will be arraigned this month on charges he allegedly punched and tried to run over a 22-year-old neighbor with his car.

Herren, 38, of 39 Bond St., is charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon — his car — and assault and battery.

A special prosecutor from the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office has been assigned to the case, the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office said.

The Bristol County DA’s Office cited its relationship with WSAR, the radio station where Herren works, as its reason for assigning a special prosecutor to the case. Herren hosts a daily call-in show under his moniker, “The Hurricane.”

He will be summonsed into Fall River District Court on Sept. 30 to be arraigned on the charges, court officials said. He’s represented by city attorney Pamela Gauvin, who was not available for comment Wednesday.

Herren is charged with assaulting Shawn J. Marques of 811 Oak Grove Ave. on June 27.

Police said they responded to reports of a fight about 6 p.m. Marques, who lives a short distance away, said Herren punched him in the neck inside Herren’s home after the latter told him to come in. Marques said he was going door to door in the neighborhood, looking for work cutting lawns.

Herren’s explanation on Patrolman Scott Cabral’s report was that Marques broke into his home and he went downstairs and confronted the other man in his parlor. He told police he swung at Marques but missed him, and pushed him out of the house.

He denied driving his car at Marques, the report said.

Reached Wednesday, Herren alleged the man inside his home “was looking around trying to rob it.” Herren said he’d been robbed a month before the incident, and Marques’ explanation he was looking for lawn-cutting jobs did not ring true.

Herren said he called police about a break-in, and while waiting more than five minutes for police looked for the man in his car.

Police summonsed Marques into court on a misdemeanor charge of breaking and entering. A District Court clerk said a magistrate’s hearing was held July 28, no complaint was issued and the case has been dropped.

Cabral, investigating initially with Patrolman Daniel Mello, cited three witnesses who said Marques had knocked on their doors asking if they needed their lawns cut. One, a Newbury Street woman, said she was sitting on her porch across from Herren’s house and could hear Herren’s voice answering the door knock.

She said she heard and saw them leaving Herren’s home, walking toward Oak Grove Avenue and the other man saying, “I only wanted to cut your grass.” Police said they observed a lawn mower in Marques’ yard.

Another witness, who also lives at Marques’ 811 Oak Grove Ave. address, told police she saw Herren drive his car at Marques while he was in the driveway. The witness said he swerved the car around Marques.

Police and Herren apparently had problems between them at the scene.

“I was very disappointed with the two police officers’ professionalism and tone. They referred to my personal life and professional life repeatedly,” he charged.

“I will be exonerated on this, and I’m in the process of filing a formal complaint against the Fall River police for this incident,” Herren said.

Cabral wrote that Herren “became belligerent” during their investigation, quoting him as saying, “Why don’t you try doing some police work?” and used profanities.

The felony assault and battery with a dangerous weapon charge carries up to five years in state prison or 2½ years in jail or a fine up to $1,000.