Video: Police to conduct internal investigation after Youtube video surfaces

Lisa Guerriero

Police confirmed on Monday they are conducting an internal investigation following the release of at least one video on Youtube showing an altercation between a Salem police officer and Travis Markarian, 21, of Swampscott.

In the video, taken last Friday night, Patrolman Larry Puleo walks across the street, grabs Markarian by the neck with both hands and throws him to the ground. Markarian is shown walking hand in hand with a female prior to the altercation.

According to police records, Puleo had been punched in the face and kicked in the leg by another suspect that night, while helping break up an unruly crowd that was gathered near Town House Square.

Marakarian was one of several men arrested that night for disorderly conduct and failing to disperse. Also arrested on those charges were Christopher Michael Burke, 21, of Swampscott, Michael Thomas Wermuth, 21, of Swampscott, and Thomas Mattson, 25, of Beverly.

Wermuth and Burke face additional charges of assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest.

According to one of their parents, who asked to remain anonymous, the four men are friends. The parent admitted the group was milling around downtown but said they were not involved in the fight that originally drew police to the area.

The father said until he watched the video on Youtube, he “was not very sympathetic” to what the young men described of that night. After seeing the altercation, the parent said of Puleo, “Perhaps his professionalism left him briefly.”

Town House Square is the site of frequent scuffles on weekends around the time the bars are closing for the night.

[Warning: Adult language in video, below.]