Thursday, September 4, 2008

Westchester Guardian/The Court Report.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Court Report
By Richard Blassberg

Simoes’ Attorneys Have Hard Sell
Videotape And Fellow Officers Condemn Rogue Cop’s Brutal Conduct
United States Federal District Court, White Plains
Magistrate Judge George A. Yanthis Presiding


Last Wednesday morning, August 27th, Yonkers Police Officer Wayne Simoes appeared in United States District Court before Magistrate Judge George A. Yanthis for arraignment. Officer Simoes, 38, was indicted on August 19, 2008 by a federal grand jury on charges of violating the civil rights of one Irma Marquez by having used excessive force against her in the City of Yonkers on March 3, 2007.

Arrested on June 27, 2008 on a federal criminal complaint, Simoes was released on bond awaiting trial. He continues to be employed, at full pay, by the Yonkers Police Department, engaged in modified duty. Standing before Judge Yanthis, Simoes was accompanied by Attorneys Andrew Quinn, of White Plains, and John Patton, of New York City.

Assistant United States Attorney Jason Halperin represented the Government. Judge Yanthis opened the proceeding, declaring, “We are here
for the arraignment of the Defendant.” He then inquired of Attorney Quinn, “Counsel, how does Defendant plead?” Mr. Quinn responded,
“Defendant pleads not guilty, Your Honor.”

Yanthis then announced, “This case has been assigned to Judge Karas.” Then, making reference to Simoes’ bail and liberty, he said, “Conditions previously set will be continued.” Simoes remains free on $300,000 bond.

Emerging from the courthouse, accompanied by his attorneys and Yonkers Police Benevolent Association President Detective Eddy Armour, Simoes remained silent as Andrew Quinn briefly fielded questions from reporters.

Quinn opened his remarks with, “My client was trying to effect an arrest.” He continued, “With respect to the charges, the tape does not show intent. And, under the applicable statute, it’s necessary that the Government show intent.” Quinn then attempted to portray his client as having been very concerned about the victim, Irma Marquez, who he had body-slammed without any apparent provocation, and had dropped face-first onto the hard floor of La Fonda Restaurant on Palisade Ave., Yonkers. He told reporters, “Officer Simoes went to the hospital the night of the incident. He was very concerned about Ms. Marquez’ well-being.”

Analysis:

Mr. Quinn would appear to have been attempting to make a very difficult argument on behalf of his client. Although the frequently-aired videotape of the incident speaks clearly about what actually occurred, the investigative report issued by Kristina Norris, Special Agent for the FBI,
in Paragraphs 5 and 5a, is particularly corroborative, and condemning, of Officer Simoes’ actions.

Agent Norris reported, in Paragraph 5, “I spoke with, among others, officers who were present at the restaurant on that date, who indicated that the video was an accurate and true depiction of the events that occurred at the restaurant, and that Simoes was the person who picked up Marquez and threw her to the floor.”

In Paragraph 5a, Agent Norris further reported, “Several officers stated that, based on their training and experience, Simoes’ use of force against Marquez was unreasonable and excessive.”

If convicted, following a trial, of having deprived Irma Marquez of the rights secured, and protected, by the Constitution and laws of the United States, to be secure in her person and free from the use of unreasonable force by one acting under Color of Law, Title 18, United States Code, Section 242, Wayne Simoes faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


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