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Legislator Damon Maher Speaks On NRPD Officer Michael Vaccaro charged with assault by DA’s Office

Legislator Damon Maher issued the following statement

As an elected official representing New Rochelle in the County Legislature, as a member of the County Policing Task Force and simply as a human being with two eyes and ears, I feel compelled to give my reaction.  Also, the candidate opposing my re-election, a young gentleman from Eastchester, one of the other municipalities in the 10th County Legislative District, has felt the need to weigh in on this incident, so it is only fair that I do so as well.

First, the actions of the on-duty uniformed officers seeking to de-escalate the situation, including trying to separate the off-duty officer and the obviously unhinged civilian, are to be generally commended.

Second, NRPD leadership made the right call in referring the matter to DA Rocah and there was certainly more than enough evidence for the DA to charge criminally and she should be commended for doing so. In the criminal law proceedings to follow Officer Vaccaro of course has the right to full due process, presumption of innocence while awaiting trial, the need for the prosecutor to prove the case against him beyond a reasonable doubt, and the right to be out of jail and free pending trial, so he may better prepare his legal defense.

But the video footage in which he swings around and sucker-punches a man already under control and being cuffed, then kicking at his head and having his own mini-Derek Chauvin moment in mashing the civilian’s face into the pavement — because the civilian yelled at him — is enough for immediate termination from employment with the City in my book. Aside from the direct personal wrong done to this civilian, consider the fact that nearly every instance of violent urban uprising is ignited by an incident of police brutality. We can thank our luck in New Rochelle that this incident didn’t occur on a crowded street corner in the middle of a hot summer day.  See this excellent new book: America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s.

It is much too risky to have a man like this in the NRPD.  He is a ticking time bomb and I shudder to think what might have happened if he had his weapon with him.

Here is where my new political opponent comes in.  Police union leaders issued statements supporting Vaccaro and attacking the DA.  Here is what my opponent chose to say in his first public declaration of any kind:

I fully support the statement by New Rochelle PBA President Christopher Greco. Once again, our law enforcement has been sent a politically motivated message. This type of anti-law enforcement rhetoric by our elected officials must end immediately. They are sending a very clear message that they support criminals over law enforcement. They are putting both our police and citizens in danger. Handcuffing our police will lead to more violence in our streets.

Maybe he hadn’t taken a look at any of the evidence before he made the statement, but will do so now and then revise or withdraw the statement.

Here is the video’s of the incident courtesy of Talk Of The Sound.

WCDA Video of Vaccaro #1.mp4 from Robert Cox on Vimeo.

WCDA Video of Vaccaro #2 from Robert Cox on Vimeo.

Stay tuned to Black Westchester for more on this developing story.

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Black Westchester - News With The Black Point Of View is an online news magazine for people of color for Westchester and the Tri- State area of New York at every economic level. Our mission is to promote the concept of “community” through media.
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