Thursday, September 4, 2008
“Where Law Ends, Tyranny Begins”
– William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, 1708-1778
Whatever Has Become Of Decency In Yonkers?
For several months now, the People of Westchester and the surrounding area, have been repeatedly exposed to the videotape of Yonkers Police Officer Wayne Simoes bodyslamming Irma Marquez at La Fonda Restaurant, March 3, 2007. The horror of the act by an individual sworn to protect the very person he nearly killed with his unbridled violent action, is worrisome enough. However, we must all recognize the deeper
significance of that tape, particularly in light of what the other police officers who were present told FBI Special Agent Norris.
Those officers who were present in the restaurant, and who are plainly seen on the videotape, told Norris that Simoes’ act was an “unreasonable
and excessive use of force.” Given that consensus, that evaluation of Simoes’ assault on an innocent, unarmed woman, what must any intelligent
observer of that tape conclude with respect to the mindset and the actions of those officers? How can anyone conclude anything other than the fact that each and every officer present was accustomed to seeing that kind of horrific violence; violence without provocation; violence from
fellow of-ficers that was clearly criminal and lifethreatening.
How can one conclude anything other than the fact that they were so used to it that even as close-up as they were, they simply went about
what they were doing without any immediate, appropriate reaction?
We are talking about brutality against women, here, extremely violent acts without any legitimate purpose or prompt; life-threatening brutality to which the response, not only of fellow officers on the scene, but of every superior of-ficer right up through the Police Commissioner, and the Mayor himself, was, “So what?”
But for the public exposure of the videotape, there would be no consequences for Officer Simoes. As it stands, he was routinely cleared of any wrongdoing by Police Department investigation. We must ask, “Did departmental investigators interview the same cops the FBI did?” The simple facts are these:
• An innocent woman was nearly murdered by a Yonkers police officer in the presence of several fellow Yonkers police officers;
• The Police Department, upon review, found no problem with the rogue, violent, cop’s actions, and permitted him to continue carrying a gun and wearing a badge; but no name tag. In point of fact, not one uniformed Yonkers Police Officer wears a name tag!
• Neither Police Commissioner Hartnett, nor Mayor Amicone, were troubled by the “unreasonable, sick, conduct until it was publicly exposed, and therefore continued to condone and thereby encourage, more of same;
• We can instantly name two other cases of severe violence by two other Yonkers cops in the presence of other Yonkers police offi-cers, against women. For example: Mary Bostwick by Yonkers Police Officer Gratzon, and Sherry Bobrowsky, by Yonkers Police Officer Renzi.
Eight years ago, emerging from law school, and working for a solo practitioner, not in Yonkers, but in White Plains, we, alone, in one year, handled three cases of Yonkers police brutality. The District Attorney, then, was Jeanine Pirro.
The District Attorney, now, is Janet DiFiore. Neither prosecuted violent Yonkers police of-ficers. However, DA DiFiore has routinely taken the protection of the Yonkers Police Department’s rogue cops one step further by actively, and aggressively, prosecuting their brutalized victims with
trumped-up charges. With a history of protection and encouragement, from the top down; the DA, the Mayor and the Police Commissioner,
and Precinct Captains, is it any wonder we are facing a routinely violent Yonkers Police Department?
The horrific beating of Rui Florim by six plainclothed Yonkers police officers, acting in concert, out of their jurisdiction, in the Town of Greenburgh, is the ultimate example of the un-lawful lengths to which Yonkers Police believe they can, and in fact, do go. And, in point of fact,
Janet DiFiore continues to prosecute Mr. Florim despite the fact that the details of the unlawful actions of those police officers have been brought to her attention.
We, at The Westchester Guardian, know that it is not merely a lack of decency that accounts for the criminal conduct of Yonkers City
Government, and the Yonkers Police Department, in particular. We are dealing with tyranny. And, as William Pitt observed more than 200 years ago, “Where law ends, tyranny begins.”
Apparently it isn’t enough that the City of Yonkers, and its Police Department, are under a permanent federal injunction not to destroy The Guardian’s distribution boxes, or interfere with our First Amendment freedoms in any way, having previously illegally confiscated, damaged, and
destroyed more than three dozen boxes. Now, because they cannot tolerate the dissemination of the ugly truth about their brutality, they have taken to bashing and wrecking our boxes, on the spot, late at night.
However, they have been caught in the act by decent citizens who do not want to be deprived of the opportunity to read The Guardian and who, furthermore, understand that they are supposed to be living in the United States of America, even though they are in Yonkers, and that they are still protected by those Constitutional guarantees such as Free Speech, Freedom Of The Press, and the Right of Association.