Acquitted Yonkers cop set to return to work
One day after his acquittal in a police brutality trial, Yonkers Police Officer Wayne Simoes confirmed Thursday he will soon be returning to work.
Simoes was found not guilty Wednesday of violating the civil rights of Irma Marquez by allegedly body-slamming her to the ground at La Fonda Restaurant in 2007.
The incident was caught on a surveillance video, which the prosecution claimed shows Simoes picking up Marquez and slamming her to the floor. The defense, however, insisted that if the video is viewed frame by frame, one can see that Marquez slipped out of Simoes' grasp while he was trying to restrain her.
"It was unfortunate what happened to Irma Marquez, but that wasn't the intent," says Eddie Armour, president of the Yonkers Police Union. "The intent was to remove her from the scene."
Although there is still an $11 million civil lawsuit pending against Simoes, the Yonkers Police Department and the city of Yonkers, Yonkers Police Commissioner Edmund Hartnett says he is ready to move past Simoes' ordeal.
"I saw this verdict as a vindication not only of Officer Simoes, but of the police department," he says.
Hartnett adds that Simoes, a nine-year veteran on the force, will shortly return to regular duty and could patrol the same neighborhood where the incident that involved Marquez took place.
While Simoes' trial is over, the Yonkers Police Deparmtent is still being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice over allegations that it is plagued by systemic police brutality.
Rev. James Hassel, of the Kingdom Church in Yonkers, says he hopes the community and the police can move forward together, and that Wednesday's verdict will not divide the city.
"Maybe voluntarily we can push and do extra to make our city be the kind of city it could be," Hassel says.
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For interviews from outside courthouse after Simoes' acquittal, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra, Ch. 612.