Police Officer Charged with Attempted Third-Degree Assault Against Black Man

Detective Michael Vaccaro, with the New Rochelle Police Department, was charged with attempted third-degree assault
Michael Vaccaro


Release of Video Shows Police Violence

(NY) – A New Rochelle detective has been charged after a video showed him repeatedly striking a Black man. The incident happened in February of this year. Malik Fogg was seen acting aggressively toward his mother. He appears to be yelling at her as she sits in her vehicle. He then strikes the vehicle as she drives away. Detective Michael Vaccaro was off-duty and was recording Fogg’s actions.

“The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office says Det. Vacarro called New Rochelle police and reported Fogg was going after him.” There are no details of what he meant by “going after him.”  But it is worth noting that Detective Vaccaro did nothing to Mr. Fogg until uniformed police officers arrived. Once they were there, Detective Vaccaro inserted himself into the situation and escalated it. Vaccaro used Fogg being outnumbered and restrained to strike at him three times and kick him once. One of the uniformed police officers had to push Vaccaro away to stop the abuse.

Third-Degree Assault

You may be wondering why Vaccaro was charged with attempted third-degree assault instead of just third-degree assault. According to NYDeskAppearanceTicket.com,

New York Penal Law 110/120.00(1): Attempted Third Degree Assault

As noted in the intentional Assault in the Third Degree section of this website, the two essential elements of a misdemeanor New York Penal Law 120.00(1) case is that (1) you intended to inflict a physical injury and (2) you in fact did so. If any one of these elements is missing, then either case cannot stand or it must be prosecuted as a lesser crime. Although lesser in terms of possible sentence, Attempted Assault in the Third Degree, New York Penal Law 110.120.00, is a “B” misdemeanor and a crime that will give you a permanent record for the public to see if there is a conviction.

There is no doubt that Det. Vaccaro wanted to hurt Mr. Fogg, but he was unable to inflict physical injury. The attempt is still a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor that falls into the criminal category, not the ticket category.

Law Enforcement Needs to Work On Anger Management

Law enforcement feels that they are being unfairly targeted, but they refuse to address their officers’ anger issues. The vast majority of the excessive force and police violence we see stems from hurt egos and unrestrained anger. Yet I doubt many, if any, law enforcement agencies teach anger management in their in-service classes.

The uniformed police officers knew Vaccaro was using excessive force. “One of the officers is heard saying “Mike relax” in response to Vaccaro’s actions.” 

And according to the News 12 Westchester video, Detective Michael Vaccaro has been investigated 17 times for complaints. That’s 17 times prior to this incident. The New Rochelle Police Department did give Vaccaro a 30-day suspension and turned the information over to the D.A. I’m glad, but 17 prior investigations? How much of a red flag do they need before they remove this menace?

Police Benevolent Association Supports Officer’s Violence

The Police Benevolent Association, yes, that’s just a fancy name for their police union, supports Vaccaro. They say he acted appropriately. According to them, the proof is when Fogg clenches his fists. They say that is a sign he is getting ready to throw a punch. That ignores the fact that Fogg’s arms are being held by a police officer. It also ignores that Vaccaro moved in and grabbed Fogg. If someone approaches me aggressively and grabs my arm, I will probably clench my fists too. That’s preparing to defend yourself and is instinctive for a lot of people.

But these are the “arguments” that always get me. YonkersTimes.com,

New Rochelle PBA President Detective Christopher Greco also supported Vaccaro after the video was released.”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.”

The “what if” scenario. They frequently fall back on a what if scenario. What if the psycho who killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub thought they were alien pod people. Are we going to be asking, ‘But what if they really were alien pod people?’ No. Because they weren’t alien pod people. And no, Fogg did not have a gun. What if scenarios are just meant to distract from the facts.

Detective Michael Vaccaro

Detective Michael Vaccaro has been with the New Rochelle Police Department for 16 years. He became a detective in December 2017, so obviously multiple investigations doesn’t hinder your advancement at New Rochelle PD. And even if convicted, it’s just a misdemeanor. The most that will happen is that he will not be able to be a police officer for one year. After a year, he can apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct. Once it’s granted, he can become a police officer again, to the detriment of the public.

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