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04-15-2003, 20:06 #1
4 Bloomfield Cops Indicted in Death of Epileptic
Apr 15, 2003 1:16 pm US/Eastern
Nearly a year after a New York man undergoing an epileptic seizure died after being subdued by police officers in Bloomfield, four of the officers were indicted on manslaughter charges.
Police officers Richard Chiarello, Vincent DeFabrizio, Gerald Fillipone and Frank Furfaro are charged with reckless manslaughter. They were not taken into custody, and an arraignment date had not been set, said Charlotte Smith, Essex County's executive assistant prosecutor.
They are charged with recklessly causing the death of Santiago Villanueva, a 35-year-old native of the Dominican Republic on April 16, 2002.
Authorities said Villanueva was undergoing a seizure when he was arrested at the garment factory where he worked.
According to Bloomfield police reports, officers and emergency medical technicians responding to a 911 call deemed Villanueva combative and, at times, unresponsive to simple verbal commands.
They acknowledge using some force to bring Villanueva under control. He died a short time later at Columbus Hospital in Newark, and the cause of death was initially listed as "mechanical asphyxia."
An autopsy by the Regional Medical Examiner's Office later classified the death as a homicide.
Acting Essex County Prosecutor Donald Campolo said Villanueva's co-workers called 911 for medical assistance when he began having a seizure. Officers Chiarello and DeFabrizio were dispatched to the factory. Officers Fillipone and Furfaro, who are also emergency medical service technicians. were manning an ambulance for the Bloomfield Rescue Squad, and also were sent to the call.
"During the process of subduing him for transportation to the hospital, the four officers are alleged to have recklessly caused injury resulting in his death," Campolo said.
The prosecutor said reckless manslaughter occurs when a person is aware of their actions but disregards the risk that death may occur because of them.
"It's kind of like poetic justice, coming almost on the anniversary," said Lawrence Hamm of the People's Organization For Progress, a community group that has been sharply critical of the prosecutions in several Essex County cases in which police officers were charged with wrongly killing someone.
"I think it's a step in the right direction, but I'm not overly optimistic because the record is not good when it comes to finding officers guilty in these police brutality cases," he said. "But the fact that they were indicted at least means the case is going off in the right direction."
It could not immediately be determined whether the officers were suspended. Bloomfield police did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment.
04-24-2003, 23:10 #2Sergeant
- Join Date
- Jul 2001
Those cops are getting screwed over! The guy started to have a seizure and they went to hold him down, joe and jane idiot citizen, see cops holding a man who dies and then it is always the cops fault.
What a damn shame.
04-25-2003, 10:03 #3Paul E. Nunis Guest
I must admit, this made me wonder if EMTS who had an epileptic patient die while being restrained would be facing the same charges, if they weren't also cops.
04-26-2003, 10:33 #4
There is a big piece to this case that is missing or simply has just not been printed. If two of the officers were also acting as EMT's then they should know the difference between a seizure and someone who is being combative. How did the call come in. As a 911 medical emergency? Did the callers say the guy was having a seizure? If that was known, why would the officers attempt to restrain him? I was always taught that if someone is having a seizure, you don't restrain them. You move things out of the way, and you never put anything in their mouth. A trained EMT would recognize that. But, why was he arrested? Did the seizure begin after he was in custody, and the officers thought he was being combative? IF that is the case, then the initial 911 call could not have been for him having a seizure. To me, there is a lot here that doesn't make sense. Of course, the media only gives half the story. The half that tells the poor guys plight and the officers that beat him up.
TRY163Nothing worthwhile has ever been achieved without constant endeavor, some pain, and the application of the lash of ambition. That's the price of success.
04-28-2003, 19:31 #5KA6007 Guest
I'm with ya'll...something really doesn't add up here.
04-30-2003, 01:28 #6
keep in mind that even though the media is there to show us whats goin on in the world.. they like to do it in a way that makes certain groups always look bad so they have more readers.. i.e. the police.. it is unfortunite how the media is..
joe blow dies because he is shot by police while trying to shoot them.. its national news..
an officer dies from a shooting and it is on the forums, local news, and odmp