Man Accused of Assaulting Hampton Police Officers Chooses to Represent Himself, Claims Self-Defense

HAMPTON, New Hampshire – A man accused of assaulting two police officers at the 401 Tavern last month has chosen to represent himself in his felony assault case and is claiming he acted in self-defense.

Bryan Foley, 42, of Litchfield, was ordered to remain in jail without bail in a hearing in Rockingham Superior Court Thursday in which he waived his right to have an attorney. Police allege he strangled, punched and threatened to kill two officers with a knife in his jacket when they were called to the tavern on Nov. 16 in response to a report Foley was planning to drive intoxicated.

Foley told Judge Andrew Schulman he became violent in reaction to police refusing to share their identity. He said he told them their refusal would be caught on body camera footage and claimed one of the officers told him, “We don’t have those.”

Schulman said the level of alleged violence committed that night lacked any sufficient explanation, however, and granted the state’s request that he remain in jail without bail. He noted the two officers who responded were sent to the emergency room that night, one left with a scar. He also noted Foley allegedly said, “I’m going to kill you” while reaching for one of several knives in his pocket.

Foley has been held without bail since his arrest on 17 charges, including two felonies. One felony second-degree assault charge alleges Foley strangled officer Brandon Whitehead during the struggle. The other felony, attempted reckless conduct, alleges Foley tried to gain access to his knives during the altercation.

Schulman said the hearing was a non-evidentiary hearing, meaning Foley would not be cross-examined on his claims about facts in the case. Instead, prosecutors gave a brief response stating Foley should not be released because of the nature of the violent allegations.

Foley’s decision to represent himself in court was met with resistance from Schulman, who discouraged him from foregoing the counsel of public defender Howard Clayman. Schulman pointed to a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln, “The man who represents himself has a fool for a client.”

“As a result, Clayman’s status was changed to standby attorney, which allows him to help Foley but with limited assistance. Foley is responsible for his own legal strategy, Schulman said. The decision is not irreversible, however, as Schulman said Foley can notify the court at any time if he wants to bring Clayman back as his representative.”