Thursday, February 12, 2009
Honest, Hard-Working Cops
Get The Shaft In Westchester
Last Thursday, February 5th, was not a good day for law enforcement in Westchester County. Two fine police officers, one a seven-
year veteran of the Harrison Police Department, Steve Heisler, the other, Steve Bonura, a 27-year veteran of the Pleasantville Police Department, each saw the end of their service as police officers in their community.
Each was removed by a cowardly means; Heisler for his failure to go along with bogus, retaliatory charges lodged against a fellow Harrison
police officer, Ralph Tancredi, by top police brass, Bonura because pressure was applied to his police chief by DA Janet DiFiore in retaliation for his justified critical comments.
District Attorney Janet Di-Fiore has created an environment in which dedicated, law-abiding police officers know that, at any moment, they can be sacrificed on the altar of political conspiracy; the deals struck between the DA and chiefs and commissioners of police departments throughout the County.
In Detective Sergeant Bonura’s case, all it took was a phone call from DiFiore telling Pleasantville Police Chief Anthony Chiarlitti to “Jump”
for him to ask, “How high?” She wanted Bonura’s head because his truthful criticism of the DA’s Office’s repeated willingness to turn loose a career criminal to again burglarize and endanger the community was more truth than she could handle. With a wife and five children
to support, the cynical and cowardly Village Board knew it would only be a short time before he would be compelled to file for retirement.
Nevermind Bonura’s brilliant 27 years of service to the Pleasantville community, senior citizens and youngsters alike. Nevermind his and his
partner, Officer DiMaio’s, excellent work as Village Youth Officers, proven, capable officers like them must come along every day to see the haste with which the Village Board couldn’t wait to gratify our vindictive, wholly incompetent, and untruthful, district attorney.
In Officer Heisler’s case, it might appear, at first glance, that his discharge was merely an in-house matter. But it was far from it. Heisler was one of the 12 members of the larger Harrison PBA who had brought complaints of unlawful audio and video recording in the locker room at
Police Headquarters as well as the confiscation of PBA funds, by Chief Hall, Captain Marraccini, and others, to the DA, only to be ignored because the chief and the captain were not only significant contributors, but organizers and spokesmen for her installation as DA in 2005.
Further-more, Heisler was unwilling to go along with the kangaroo court proceedings invoked against Officer Tancredi, then-President of the
Harrison PBA, in retaliation for his union activity. After all, DiFiore had dispatched one of her most corrupted ADAs, Barbara Egenhauser, in an attempt to suborn perjury from Tancredi’s girlfriend, as she shoved an unwanted Order Of Protection on her. Heisler’s dismissal was more a product of the political makeup of the Harrison Town Board, the vote having been three to two in favor of dismissal with all three Republican members going against Heisler as they no doubt will against Tancredi, given the chance.
Janet DiFiore, truth be told, has no regard for good cops. To her, they are merely pawns to be played and manipulated, one way or another in furtherance of her self-promotional agenda. Look at her handling of Mount Kisco Police Officer George Bubaris, following the death of homeless immigrant Rene Perez. When the pressure from the Latino community became too great, she needed a scapegoat, and George Bubaris, low man on the totem pole, was it.
Three of her top prosecutors, Jim McCarty, Perry Perone, and Michael Delohery, all experienced and accomplished liars before a jury, came to trial with their tank on empty; and, try as they may for their counterfeit boss, they couldn’t fool 12 intelligent jurors. Of course, although
the trial outcome was vindicating to Bubaris, his career was ruined and he and his wife were put through extraordinary expenses and heartache they will be years recovering from.
Let us not forget her all-out effort to defend the bogus prosecution of former New York City Transit Police Officer Richard DiGuglielmo. She
was in the DA’s Office in October 1996 when the tragic incident that compelled Officer DiGuglielmo to “fire three shots to center mass” as a
bat-wielding assailant attacked his middle-aged father. She was in the office and knew damned well the lies and the pressure that were forced upon the three eyewitnesses to the self-defense shooting.
The wrongful conviction that emerged from the trial, finally overturned by a brilliant decision after more than 10 years, by an evidentiary hearing that lasted for eight days, continues to be mindlessly challenged by DiFiore, who knows very well just how much prosecutorial misconduct went into the wrongful conviction.
Then there is DA DiFiore’s disrespectful handling and manipulation of the tragic death of Mount Vernon Detective Christopher Ridley, who paid with his life to respond to a criminal event as we would wish every dedicated police officer would want to respond. It is becoming increasingly apparent, one year after the terrible incident, why DiFiore continues to keep the tapes of the young officer’s killing, at the hands of four County police officers, out of public view, and why she refuses to turn over his clothing and his wallet to his family.
The truth is, our District Attorney, installed by political operatives more than three years ago, had such political obligation to people such as Tom Belfiore, Nick Spano, Andy Spano, Edmund Hartnett, Phil Amicone, and so many more scoundrels that she preferred to characterize
Officer Ridley’s actions on January 25, 2008 as reckless and unprofessional. She had no problem filling in with lies about his badge where necessary, all for the purpose of keeping the damaging truth from coming out. In fact, she reasoned it was better to protect the reputations
of her co-conspirators than that of an heroic young cop, the likes of which doesn’t come along every day.
In fairness, we must point out that it’s not as though DA DiFiore is cruel and unfair toward all police officers in Westchester. There are those officers, and departments, whose actions she continues to cover up and protect. She will go all-out for the Yonkers Police Department, and officers the likes of Wayne Simoes, no matter how brutally and wrongfully they may have dealt with innocent citizens.
Not only will the Westchester DA ignore irrefutable evidence of police brutality such as the Irma Marquez tape, but she will also prosecute the innocent victims as well. It is obvious that there is an unhealthy incestuousness about the DA’s relationship with certain police Departments, and, Yonkers is a prime example. It is mind-boggling that, in light of the evidence, it required “a jury of her peers” to acquit Ms. Marquez of the charges maliciously brought against her, and it took the United States Attorney’s Office to apprehend, and prosecute,
Wayne Simoes, the rogue, violent cop.
The Guardian discovered, and publicly exposed, the violence problem in Yonkers, and the Westchester DA’s failure to protect Constitutionally-violated individuals in that city two and a half years ago. It is a simple fact that under DA Janet DiFiore, honest, hard-working police officers get the shaft in Westchester, and brutal rogues get covered up. Voters will need to deal with that problem directly