The FBI has decided not to pursue a full blown investigation into two other allegations of excessive force filed against the Troy Police Department.
According to Police Benevolent Association President Bob Fitzgerald, the request to look into the actions of Officer Kyle Jones during two 2012 arrests will not result in anything more than a cursory look. This comes on the heels of the FBI determining the Kokopellis melee of Jan. 25 did not warrant a full blown investigation either.
In June, 2012, Jones was accused of using excessive force while arresting freelance photographer Brian Houle. Days prior to the arrest in front of Houle’s South Troy home, Jones and Houle got into an argument on Facebook over the definition of “hero.” Houle called himself such after putting a car fire out, Jones took exception and called Houle to tell him as much. Houle, of course recorded the conversation and while Jones didn’t outright threaten him, it was close.
Days later, Houle, Jones was on patrol in South Troy, attempted to arrest Houle for some petty crime, Houle allegedly resisted and got beat up pretty good.
Houle currently has a $3 million lawsuit filed against the city. Jones was found to have violated the department’s internet policy and standards of impartiality. I don’t think there is such thing as “violating good judgment” or “thumbing your nose at common sense” in the police officer manual but if there were he would be guilty of those too.
Anyway, in December, Jones tried to arrest Frank Fogarty in downtown for disorderly conduct and Fogarty and his wife allegedly resisted. An Internal Affairs investigation found that Jones did use excessive force, but the PBA claimed Chief John Tedesco released the letter to Fogarty too soon and filed a complaint against the chief for doing so.
Along with allegations of excessive force after the Jan. 25 Kokopellis melee, the two complaints were sent along to the Justice Department by the Troy African American Pastoral Alliance. The FBI took a look at all three and decided not to conduct a full blown investigation into any of them.
|TEDESCO and JONES|
In addition to Houle’s civil suit, Fogarty filed one too, Kokopellis has already filed a notice of claim and I’d be willing to bet it’s only a matter of time before Roshwon Donley, the man captured on cell phone and surveillance videos getting hit by police with nightsticks, files one as well.
Some good did come out of the allegations, however. The Police Department has revamped how it takes complaints – in that they are actually taking them seriously – the Police Objective Review Committee is taking a more active role and there is a separate entity, the Troy Citizens Complaint Board, to assist residents file complaints and see the police follow through with the investigation.
In the end the allegations did have some lasting impact:
-Tedesco came out on top by forwarding everything to the FBI – whether he knew the outcome or not – and got control of the TPD’s day-to-day operations back.
-Not that the TPD didn’t take the more serious complaints seriously, but now officers know the minor ones will too.
-Kokopellis brought to a head what citizens called a systematic, longtime abuse at the hands of police officers. I’m not sure how widespread it was – or if it was institutional racism as indicated by a number of residents – but obviously there was something there based on the number who showed up at the Public Safety Committee meetings to complain and by Tedesco’s own words.
-Despite the FBI, the nation's lead investigatory agency, opting not to pursue the complaints, Councilman Bob Doherty, D-District 4, still wants a district attorney to take a look at possible criminality. I just don't see that happening.