New video shows altercation between man and New Rochelle detective charged with assault
New video released Friday of an altercation that led to a New Rochelle detective being charged with assault has stirred a debate over whether he overstepped his legal authority as a police officer.
Officials say the man seen in the video, Malik Fogg, was having a dispute with his mother at a gas station on Main Street when he realized off-duty Detective Michael Vacarro was recording him on his cell phone.
The Westchester County District Attorney's Office says Det. Vacarro called New Rochelle police and reported Fogg was going after him.
After uniformed officers arrived on the scene, they attempted to arrest Fogg.
Following a chase, Vaccaro is accused of punching and kicking the suspect repeatedly before pressing the suspect's face into the ground even though responding officers already had the suspect in custody.
"It looked as if Detective Vaccaro was intruding on a situation where he didn't belong and kept intruding, even after the on-duty officers were there, and that he was abusive," said Julie Davis Carran, Convener, Westchester Coalition for Police Reform.
New Rochelle PBA President Detective Christopher Greco says it wasn't abusive, but by the book. Greco says officers didn't know whether Fogg was armed and that there were multiple times Fogg could have gotten away.
"If Officer Vacarro swung at this guy three times and Officer Vacarro went to kick him one time, and this individual was armed with a gun, took out that gun and shot Vacarro, would we be having this conversation? Probably not," Greco said.
According to the New Rochelle Police Department, Vacarro has been investigated for 17 incidents. The nature of the incidents is unknown.
Still, PBA officials around the Hudson Valley say he should be back on duty.
Congressman Jamaal Bowman issued a statement on police violence in New Rochelle Friday night, reading in part: "Police have a place in our community, but that place isn't to act as vigilantes when they are off the clock. The video shows that Officer Vaccaro was acting in anger, in rage, and not in the interest of the law or our greater community. If any member of our district acted in that same manner, they would be facing the same charges that Officer Vaccaro is facing today."