WC cop pleads 'not guilty' to use of excessive force
A Yonkers police officer accused of use of excessive force pleaded not guilty Friday after he allegedly slammed a woman to the ground last year.
The arrest of 38-year-old Officer Wayne Simoes comes three months after Irma Marquez, 44, who accuses Simoes of violating her civil rights, was found not guilty of disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice. Marquez then filed an $11.3 million police brutality lawsuit against Simoes, the city and the Yonkers Police Department.
The incident involving Marquez and Simoes happened in March of 2007 at La Fonda Restaurant. Police were called after Marquez's niece was knocked unconscious by a bottle in a bar fight. When Marquez tried to approach her niece as emergency workers were attending her, Simoes allegedly picked her up and slammed her to the tile floor face first.
Marquez suffered bruises to her face, a broken jaw and memory loss, among other injuries.
The Yonkers Internal Affairs Department probed the incident and cleared Simoes of charges, but after a surveillance tape showing Marquez being body slammed to the ground by Simoes was released a year later, the Westchester District Attorney's Office and U.S. Attorney?s Office opened an investigation.
According to FBI officers, who appear in the video, and who were subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney?s Office, Simoes? use of force against Marquez was ?unreasonable and excessive.?
But Simoes's attorney, Andrew Quinn, says the silent video does not allow officials to hear the repeated attempts by police officers to get Marquez to step back.
Westchester District Attorney Janet Difiore says the personnel who handled Marquez's case have been disciplined, and new training is being put in place.
Following his arraignment Friday, Simoes was released by federal judge after handing over his gun and passport and posting a $300,000 bond. Simoes could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted and a $250,000 fine. He is due back in court July 23.
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