LOWELL -- A fired Groton police officer who allegedly flashed his badge to get out of a crosswalk violation in Lowell is now charged with resisting arrest, assault and impersonating a police officer.
In Lowell District Court Tuesday, Eric M. Watkins, 42, of Lowell, was released on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty to impersonating a police officer, assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and a crosswalk violation.
Lowell police say they found in Watkins' apartment a Groton police identification card and patrolman's badge, a Massachusetts Police Association membership card, a card issued by the town of Groton certifying Watkins as an officer, and a black leather police wallet.
Watkins' attorney told Judge Thomas Brennan that Watkins denies the allegations.
Groton Police Chief Donald Palma did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday.
According to court documents, at 10:35 a.m. on Monday, Lowell Police Officer Scott Sauve saw a car on East Merrimack Street going 51 mph through a crosswalk. As Sauve approached the car, the driver flashed a Groton police badge and said he was rushing to a "family emergency." The driver identified himself as Kelsly Rasmure. Sauve told the man to drive more carefully and let him leave.
An hour later, Sauve was speaking to a Groton police officer on an unrelated matter when he asked about Rasmure's family emergency and offered to help in any way he could. But the
Sauve then ran the license plate of the car he stopped. The car was registered to a person named Rasmure from Harvard. Harvard police checked on the vehicle and discovered Watkins was driving the vehicle. Watkins is related by marriage to the Rasmure family.
Sauve was told by Groton police that Watkins is a former Groton police officer who was terminated and told to turn in his badge and identification.
Although Groton police indicated Watkins turned in his badge, police allege he must have obtained another badge that he kept. Chief Palma asked Lowell police to retrieve the badge if possible.
When Lowell police officers arrived at Watkins' Hildreth Street apartment, Watkins was seen walking in front of the apartment building. When police asked Watkins to remove his hands from his pockets to be frisked, he allegedly refused and tried to move away from officers, according to court documents.
When Watkins was told officers were there to retrieve his Groton police badge, Watkins allegedly denied he had a badge. As Watkins was being handcuffed, he repeatedly resisted, complying only after being threatened with the use of chemical spray, according to court documents.
Officers then asked if they could search his apartment for the badge, and he told police where to find the spare key. Watkins allegedly initially refused to divulge where the badge was located, until police threatened to obtain a search warrant.
Watkins allegedly told police he hid his police ID and badge in his mother's top dresser drawer. Both items were recovered by police.
As police tried to place Watkins in the prisoner transport wagon, Watkins began to physically and verbally resist, according to court documents. He complied when police threatened him with chemical spray, court documents state.
Court documents did not state when Watkins was terminated. He was still working in the Groton department in 2010, according to log records.
Watkins' next court date is April 23 for a pretrial conference.
Follow Lisa Redmond on Twitter @lredmond13.