By Katina Caraganis
LEOMINSTER -- A Shirley corrections officer accused of assaulting a motorist with pepper spray has been "detached" with pay pending the result of an investigation into his arrest over the weekend.
Stephen J. Carrier, 46, of 10 Shaker Court, Lunenburg, was arraigned in Leominster District Court on Monday after being charged with one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Officers were called to a North Street home in Leominster on Sunday afternoon after receiving a call that someone had been pepper-sprayed in the eyes.
Cara Savelli, a spokeswoman with the Department of Corrections, would not say exactly what "detached" means, but said Carrier would remain detached pending the outcome of an investigation.
Savelli said corrections officers are not required to carry pepper spray with them while on the job, and Carrier did not have department-issued pepper spray for his position at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley.
While Savelli would not comment on Carrier's case because it is still under investigation, she said that, in general, prison staff are required to report any incidents with outside law-enforcement agencies to their superiors immediately.
The alleged victim told police he and his family were returning home from a birthday party when they saw a gold Cadillac driven by Carrier cut off a car at the intersection of Pleasant and Harvard streets. He alleges Carrier rolled down his window and began berating the female driver of the other vehicle.
The man said he then rolled down his window and told Carrier to "stop acting like a child and just go," court documents show.
The man said he drove away from the scene without giving the incident another thought, but when he arrived home, he noticed the gold Cadillac pulling in behind him.
Carrier allegedly got out of his car and began yelling at the man, refusing to leave the property. The alleged victim said Carrier took out pepper spray and sprayed him in the eyes. He said he grabbed onto Carrier and dragged him to the sidewalk, according to court documents.
Carrier left the scene before officers arrived.
When officers interviewed him later, he said he only followed the victim to tell him to mind his own business and took the pepper spray because the victim was larger than him.
To carry pepper spray, a person must have a special firearms-identification card. It could not be confirmed Tuesday whether Carrier has such a card. A call to Carrier's Lunenburg home was not returned Tuesday.
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