GARDNER — On Saturday, Aug. 6, at 4:57 p.m., Officer Derek Ferreira of the Gardner Police Department was one of four officers dispatched to the Polish American Citizen’s Club following a report of a fight that broke out during Terrapinfest, a folk festival that was being held on the premises.
“Upon arrival, I was directed to a male party by numerous individuals who advised me that he was the victim,” wrote Officer Ferreira in his Narrative. “What I gathered from the parties on the way to the victim, was that another male party (identified as being shirtless with white pants) ran up to the victim and tried to punch him several times. I was also advised that the suspect had another male with him who was identified as having curly hair. It should also be noted that the PACC was having a function and there were a lot of people in the area that observed the situation occur.”
According to Officer Ferreira, he then went to speak with the “victim,” who identified himself. He told Officer Ferreira that two men and a woman approached the area where he was sitting with his children and family and began talking about smoking marijuana.
“[The ‘victim’] stated that he understands that marijuana is no longer illegal but asked if they smoke elsewhere and not around his children,” wrote Officer Ferreira in his Narrartive. “The male party wearing the white pants started to argue with [the ‘victim’] and walked away. The male party then stopped, turned around and told [the ‘victim’] to stand up so he could fight him. [The ‘victim’] did so and the male party charged him causing [the “victim”] to defend himself. [The victim] was advised of his court options if he wished to pursue charges.”
Officer Ferreira then joined Sergeant Matthew Arsenault and Officer John Smith, who were speaking with two of the men alleged to be involved in the fight, Daniel O’Hearn (shirtless in white pants, with the words “Love is Pain” tattooed across his chest) and Johnny Banks (curly hair).
According Gardner Police Department’s Application for Criminal Complaint submitted to the Gardner District Court for both individuals, O’Hearn is a 44-year-old resident of Winchendon and Banks is a 31-year-old student who resides in Ashburnham. Both men are unmarried.
“Officers spoke with them and they stated that Daniel was the one assaulted during the incident and they were also given their options regarding pressing charges through Gardner District Court,” wrote Officer Ferreira in his Narrative. “During this time, they were being extremely argumentative regarding the situation and wanted to know why we weren’t arresting [the ‘victim’] for the fight.”
While the officers continued to speak with the men, Officer Ferreira asked the individual running the event if she’d like them off the property because “they were starting to cause a scene.” The event organizer replied saying she would like them to leave.
Police then told O’Hearn and Banks that they had to leave and were in the process of being escorted off the property when officers were advised that O’Hearn’s dog was loose in the area.
“Officers were eventually able to get Daniel’s dog to him but it took some time due to the dog and Daniel not having a leash for it. Daniel was told numerous times by Ofc. Smith to leave the property and it got to the point that Daniel was refusing to leave,” wrote Officer Ferreira in his Narrative.
According to Officer Ferreira, when Officer Smith told O’Hearn that he would be arrested for trespassing if he didn’t leave the PACC, he “put his hands behind his back and backed up to Ofc. Smith saying ‘arrest me then.’ Ofc. Smith asked if he was sure, Daniel stated ‘yes’ and was placed under arrest.”
Officer Smith then transported O’Hearn to the Gardner Police Department for booking. His dog was turned over to Keith Vanvleck.
Officer Ferreira then turned his attention to Banks who was still on the property.
“Ofc. Willis and I stayed with Johnny who was advised again that he still needed to leave,” wrote Officer Ferreira in his Narrative. “Johnny continued to argue with Officers about why [the ‘victim’] wasn’t being arrested. I tried again to advise him of the laws and the process, but he continued to not listen and argue.”
However, after telling Banks to leave several more times, he remained and continued to argue.
“I told him he would be arrested if he didn’t leave,” wrote Officer Ferreira in his Narrative. “Johnny then began walking towards [the vehicle he drove there], stopped and began berating Ofc. Willis and myself about not knowing the laws and about how the situation would’ve been different if a female had been assaulted. I told him that if he stopped again, he would be arrested as I had already told him dozens of times to leave the property at this point. Johnny started walking again, stopped, turned toward Officers, threw his hands in the air and said ‘freedom of speech.’ Johnny was subsequently arrested for trespassing.”
Both Banks’ and O’Hearn’s bail was set at $225.
They were arraigned in Gardner District Court on Aug. 8., after which, Judge Whitney Brown released them on their own personal recognizance with the potential of bail revocation.
At his arraignment, O’Hearn waived counsel, plead guilty and was fined $100 by Judge Brown. On Aug. 12, O’Hearn returned to Gardner District Court for a continued for pretrial hearing, where the judge continued the matter as continued without a finding on the payment of $100. O’Hearn paid the hundred dollars and the charge was dismissed.
Banks is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on Oct. 4.
Disclaimer: If you are wondering why the incident in this story was from early August, that’s because I had to file a FOIA request to get the Personnel Narratives for the incident. FOIAs are time consuming.