New Rochelle Judge Acquits White Policeman of Unjustified Assault on Black Man

Last week New Rochelle City Judge Matt Costa inexplicably acquitted NRPD Detective Michael Vaccaro in a non-jury trial involving a beatdown on Main Street in February of last year. I commented on this last June after seeing the videotape that was the basis of the DA’s indictment. Click through to watch the whole video and see this off-duty officer spin Mount Vernon resident Malik Fogg around, away from the uniformed officer who was handcuffing Fogg, clocking him with a sucker punch, followed by two more as Fogg raised his hands in defense, and then kicking at him à la LAPD vs Rodney King. Then, when Fogg again has again surrendered after the tumult caused by Vaccaro, and is on the ground being handcuffed by a uniformed officer, Vaccaro has his mini-Derek Chauvin moment. He gratuitously mashes the subdued Fogg’s face into the concrete pavement for twelve seconds.

Takeaways:  I’m especially disappointed, as one of many in our Party who worked to get Judge Costa elected, in his lack of good judgment in deciding this case. As I said last June, the uniformed cops on the scene handled the matter professionally and, to the extent not interrupted by Vaccaro’s antics, effectively. They kept Vaccaro at bay and ultimately calmed the agitated Fogg down….twice. This is not an easy line of work and Vaccaro made this particular situation many times harder for his on-duty colleagues. Vaccaro is a powder keg in the wrong line of work. City officials should move decisively to take the legal steps necessary to separate him from this line of work.

I stood in solidarity with protesters on the steps of the New Rochelle City courthouse this past Friday, seen in this CBS news excerpt. Those of us present pledged to continue to seek justice in this case and support efforts that bolster good policing, including a strong, independent, civilian oversight office for police accountability.