Ruling on Alleged ‘Police Brutality’ in the Hudson Valley
A viral video that which alleges police brutality in the Hudson Valley was investigated.
On Thursday, Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced the District Attorney’s Office completed its investigation into a physical altercation between members of the City of Port Jervis Police Department and a suspect they arrested on May 29.
A recording of the incident, which shows City of Port Jervis police officers struggling with the suspect while he was on the ground, was posted to social media and went viral which prompted inquiries from the public, officials say.
The person who recorded the incident told investigators he or she saw officers of the City of Port Jervis Police Department approach a suspect and attempt to apprehend him, but that as they did so the suspect pulled his hands away from the officers and fled down a street. The civilian stated that when officers again approached the suspect, the suspect adopted a fighting stance and pushed his hands aggressively at one officer. The arresting officer was struck in his face. The civilian witness stated that the witness only began recording the incident after this happened, and then stopped recording once the suspect was handcuffed.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, the witness also reported that the suspect resisted being arrested from the time the police initially confronted him and that he struggled with officers both when he was standing, and even after officers had placed him on the ground. The witness reported that the suspect refused to place his hands behind his back and was not fully under the control of the police until additional officers arrived, at which point the witness stopped recording the incident.
A District Attorney’s Office investigator also interviewed a second eyewitness who confirmed the suspect was resisting arrest and had told the officers, “I ain’t going back to jail," officials say.
The District Attorney’s also reviewed all the police reports concerning the incident, the radio calls pertaining to the incident and the suspect’s booking photos and jail records. Those reports show that the suspect, who was approximately 6’4” and 250 pounds, was being arrested as part of an undercover narcotics operation for having sold cocaine, officials say.
Felony-weight cocaine was allegedly recovered from the unnamed suspect after he was arrested. The police were also aware that at the time they attempted to apprehend the suspect he had been released on $40,000 bail for other felony charges pertaining to cocaine.
The District Attorney’s Office reached out to the attorney representing the suspect and inquired as to whether the suspect wished to make a statement concerning the circumstances surrounding his arrest, including any allegations of the improper use of force by the police. The suspect indicated through his attorney that he is not interested in speaking to the District Attorney’s office regarding the incident, even upon the condition that no such statements would be used by the prosecution in any direct case against the suspect.
"After reviewing all the attendant facts and circumstances involving this incident, particularly the interviews of civilian witnesses and police officers, and a review of the available evidence, it is the conclusion of the District Attorney's Office that the police officers’ actions, in this case, were justified under the New York State Penal Law.," the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
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