- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 5, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The chief of a private police force in Raleigh has been accused of abusing his power in connection with four arrests during the past year.

Joseph Michael Conover of Durham was indicted by a Wake County grand jury Monday on more than a dozen charges including obstruction of justice and second-degree kidnapping, according to local media reports.

Conover, 38, is a chief with the Nova Agency Company Police Department, whose officers typically have jurisdiction over properties such as malls or hospitals. Over a six-month period starting last July, he’s accused of crimes including unjustifiably using pepper spray and Tasers on suspects, according to the indictments.

Conover assaulted one man, according to a warrant, by pepper spraying him, then rubbing his face with a shirt containing pepper spray.

Many of the allegations come from residents of Raleigh apartment complexes that his agency has contracted to police. In each instance, the people involved were ultimately charged with resisting an officer, along with other alleged crimes.

Conover was jailed on $2 million bond and is due back in court April 11. It wasn’t known if he had an attorney.

Prosecutors said that an investigation is ongoing, and more charges could be forthcoming.

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