Those were the parting words of Judge Matthew Sciarino to Council Ydanis Rodriguez after dismissing charges of obstruction of justice and resisting arrest stemming from the councilman’s November arrest.
Sciarino, a criminal court judge who was transferred to Manhattan from Staten Island after posting revealing details about his life on Facebook, may have been referring to Jimmy Oddo and Vincent Ignizo, Rodriguez’s two Council colleagues from Staten Island. But Rodriguez couldn’t say, focusing his public comments more on the need for the City to respect the constitutional rights of Occupy Wall Street supporters like himself.
“Today, with the dismissal of my charges, I am calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Commissioner [Ray] Kelly to spend those resources as is needed to protect our city from terrorist attack, keep our city safe, but also to defend our constitutional rights,” Rodriguez said outside the courthouse.
Rodriguez was arrested in the wake of the November 15 police sweep of Zuccotti Park that ended the first phase of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Rodriguez claims he was traveling to the park to observe the police action in his capacity as a Council member, but was detained and beaten by several police officers.
In court today, prosecutor Michele Bayer from the Manhattan district attorney’s office said that she doesn’t buy the councilman’s recollection of the events, but lacked the testimony, specifically from one female police officer, to try and convict him.
“As we don’t have the testimony of this specific female officer, we cannot prove the charges against this defendant beyond a reasonable doubt,” Bayer said. “Therefore, the People move to dismiss this case.”
Rodriguez’s lawyer, Andrew Stoll, said Bayer’s comments in court about finding “no evidence to corroborate” the councilman’s story were extraneous and unwarranted.
“This wasn’t the arena for them to make those comments,” Stoll said. “Those were gratuitous comments.”
Here’s the transcript of Bayer’s full comments from court:
“The defendant is charged with Obstructing Governmental Administration and Resisting Arrest following his arrest on November 15, 2011, at approximately 2:00am, one block north of Zuccotti Park. At the time of the arrest, Zuccotti Park was being temporarily evacuated.
“After a thorough investigation, the People have determined that the officers who were involved in this defendant’s arrest had probable cause to arrest him when he attempted to get past a police barricade. The People investigated the defendant’s claims that he calmly identified himself as a NYC council member, asked to enter the restricted area, and was instantaneously physically attacked by multiple officers with night sticks for no apparent reason. The People have found no evidence to corroborate any of these claims. In fact, although there is no video of this incident, we did locate video of the same officers involved in the defendant’s arrest, at other points on the night of November 15, 2011, acting professionally in a very chaotic environment and exercising tremendous restraint.
“As we indicated to the court on the last date, the NYPD did a full and thorough investigation to locate police witnesses to the defendant’s criminal acts. They interviewed dozens of officers assigned to Zuccotti Park that night, as well as other police witnesses. However, as we do not have the testimony of the specific female officer with whom the defendant physically interfered — which is the basis for the Obstructing Governmental Administration charge and the basis for the “authorized arrest” required for the Resisting Arrest charge. As we don’t have the testimony of this specific female officer, we cannot prove the charges against this defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, the People move to dismiss this case.”
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