Roxborough Rd Case: Police Union Questions Prosecution & Chief
Updated: Friday, July 12 2013, 07:01 PM EDT
Rochester, N.Y. --- The Rochester Locust Club Police Union is defending two of its officers whose names have been brought up during news reports and scrutiny of recent criminal investigations. (See Attached Links)
Specifically that scrutiny surrounding the case of People v. McNair in which Monroe County Court Judge Doug Randall “called into question” the credibility and sworn testimony of an Officer Ryan Hartley. Judge Randall dropped most of the drug charges against Christopher McNair while also stating that police conducted a “warrantless search” of McNair’s home on March 14, 2012.
"My first review of his decision, it was clear in my mind that he kept referring to what wasn't there,” Locust Club Union President Mike Mazzeo said of Judge Randall’s decision. “I didn't perceive it as an attack on our guys, I perceived it right from the initial step that this wasn't prosecuted correctly."
Past cases have raised questions about Officer Robert Osipovitch who jointly worked the Roxborough Road investigation with Officer Hartley and both have become the focus of questions and scrutiny.
Mazzeo said his union members went “line by line” through Judge Randall’s decision and every word of testimony presented in this case. A detailed presentation was given to 13WHAM News recently for the purposes of perspective and understanding. Mazzeo said Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley and Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard have also been invited to view this presentation.
"For whatever reasons they don't seem to want to take us up on that," Mazzeo said.
For detailed reporting of this case please click here or on the attached links.
Locust Club Union President Mike Mazzeo then agreed to an interview on the case and had the following things to say.
On whether his officers had any motivation to enter 375 Roxborough Road home three hours prior to obtaining a search warrant as was alleged by witnesses and Judge Randall’s decision:
“Absolutely not, they had everything in place there's no reason. There would be no advantage in any way shape or form."
On why the D.A.’s Office never notified Officer Hartley or other members of the RPD about Judge Randall’s strongly worded decision nor the outcome of the case: (All learned about it following 13WHAM News’ inquiry)
"Yeah that's an issue. That is something we need to work on, communication with the District Attorney's Office and you know since this happened to the District Attorney's credit, Ms. Doorley has had a lot of conversations with myself."
Should the community assume the RPD and D.A.’s Office communicate regularly?
“I think if you would ask anybody they would assume there's that type of communication and that's why I think this raises the question why didn't that occur here? What happened?"
NOTE: Mazzeo said D.A. Doorley personally handled a recent suppression hearing involving Officers Ryan Hartley and Robert Osipovitch in an unrelated case. The union credits her involvement in that as an additional show of support for its members.
On Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard:
"The Chief has a great image in this community, he does a lot of positive things out there in terms of public relations that's great but I think his first role and his first priority, he needs to come out and support his people and certainly when you call into question the integrity of our officers doing a job out there, we needed to hear from him, our officers needed to hear, the public needed to hear from him and there's still time."
On how Officers Hartley & Osipovitch are dealing with this public scrutiny:
"This is tough, it's devastating, when you know you've done everything right. You're so committed and these guys have one commitment and that is to go out and do this job, and they're doing a very difficult job and a very dangerous job, and to see their names smeared and the work they've done smeared is devastating. And then more importantly to know that their names are out there and it affects their families and their friends. It's huge, it's a huge burden and no one knows that burden until you've been in that spotlight and know how bad it feels and how it can destroy you."