When home health aide Irma Marquez was slammed to the floor during a fight at the La Fonda Restaurant in Yonkers, Police Officer Wayne Simoes claimed that he slipped on a wet floor, and his fellow cops backed him up. It all fell apart when Marquez’s lawyer released a videotape of the incident. From LoHud :
Simoes, 39, is accused of violating the rights of Marquez, a 44-year-old home health aide. The incident gained national notoriety when Marquez’s lawyer in a civil lawsuit released a surveillance video that appears to show Simoes body-slamming Marquez to the ground.
Simoes’ defense contends that he slipped on the wet barroom floor and dropped Marquez on his way down to the ground.
Only then did another Yonkers police officer, who had earlier given a perfect impersonation of Sgt. Schultz, come clean:
Andrew Quinn, Simoes’ lawyer, yesterday ripped into [Police Officer John] Liberatore on cross-examination, pointing out that Liberatore told Yonkers police Internal Affairs investigators that he didn’t see the incident.
“You were advised before you spoke with the Internal Affairs officers that you had to tell the truth, weren’t you?” Quinn asked.
“Yes,” Liberatore replied.
But he later said he didn’t want to be the one to point a finger at a fellow officer.
>”I didn’t want to be the one to go out on a limb and say whether what I saw was right or wrong,” he said. The Internal Affairs unit cleared Simoes of wrongdoing. But Yonkers Police Commissioner Edmund Hartnett ordered the investigation reopened after FBI agents arrested Simoes in June.
It’s that simple. And that complex.
“It’s your obligation as a Yonkers police officer to report what you saw to your supervisor, correct?” Quinn asked.
“Yes,” Liberatore said.
Indeed it is. And yet he didn’t. Not until he had no way out of telling the truth. So let’s add up the sum of the parts: Officer Simoes gratuitously throws Irma Marquez to the ground and breaks her jaw. Officer Libertore denies seeing anything until it’s his butt on the line by virtue of a videotape of the incident, concededly lying to avoid “going out on a limb.” Imagine, telling the truth means “going out on a limb.” And cops wonder why we keep saying mean things about them.
Yonkers P.O. John Liberatore was the first witness in the case against Wayne Simoes in the Southern District, White Plains Courthouse. There are more to follow. Who would have been the first to go out on a limb had there been no video?
For those who are tired of hearing these negative stories about police officers, and assert that mere mortals like us can never understand the pressures of the brotherhood of self-proclaimed heroes, we need to persist nonetheless. If we don’t keep this issue on the front burner, and if we don’t let cops know that we’re well aware of the fact that they are shameless liars when it suits them, it won’t end. We just keep pounding away.
H/T Turk, always on the lookout for curious testimony.