New Rochelle, NY: A New Rochelle police officer who is fighting to get his job back since being acquitted of bogus charges has started to petition to get his voice heard. And he needs our help.
Michael Vacarro, a 17-year police veteran of the force, was roped into a politically motivated charge after assisting his fellow officers secure an enraged suspect.
A passerby who video recorded the incident later published it to social media. Vacarro was subsequently charged with assault by the District Attorney’s office despite clear evidence there was no criminal intent. The judge agreed there was insufficient evidence and acquitted Vaccaro.
The Original Incident
Vacarro, who was off duty at the time, was in his personal vehicle in a gas station in downtown, New Rochel, NY. He observed an enraged suspect, later identified as Malik Fogg, arguing with a woman while she was in her car.
The woman, who was identified as Fogg’s mother, drove off after Fogg violently hit her vehicle by slamming his hand onto her windshield.
As Fogg continued his erratic and unpredictable behavior, Vacarro began recording the incident from inside his vehicle as a precautionary measure.
Once Fogg became aware that he was video recording the incident, Fogg sprinted towards Vaccaro’s vehicle. Surveillance footage show that once Fogg was within reach of the vehicle, it appears Fogg reached for the door handle.
But at this point, Vacarro was able to pull out of the gas station and onto the street.
Vaccaro wisely attempted to drive off from the scene, likely determining that nothing good will come from a confrontation with Fogg.
But the enraged Fogg, who was continually yelling throughout the incident appeared determined and refused to let the situation go. As Vaccaro slowly progressed down the street, Fogg was seen on the video at the side of Vaccaro’s vehicle, still yelling. He could be heard on video screaming, “coward n****”.
It was reported that Vaccaro, along with other witnesses nearby, phoned 911 for assistance.
As Fogg continued to challenge Vaccaro from outside the vehicle, a uniformed police officer quickly approached him and attempted to de-escalate the situation. But Fogg wasn’t backing down- even in front of the officer. As the officer continued to de-escalate, Vaccaro eventually stepped out of the vehicle to assist the officer.
Other uniformed officers responded and attempted to secure Fogg in handcuffs due to his habitual refusal to follow their orders. As Vaccaro went to secure Fogg’s arm, Fogg can be seen on video in an aggressive posture and balled up his fists. At this point, Vacarro then punched Fogg in an attempt to further control the situation.
Vaccaro was later charged by the DA with a misdemeanor assault charge. But the charge reeked of political motivation, especially considering the anti- police sentiment in New York at the time. It continues to this day.
The DA also dropped all criminal charges issued to Fogg.
In an interview with local media, Keith Olson, a police union official told the media regarding the absurdity of the charge:
“I think it’s ridiculous. It takes away the trust factor. It’s going to take a lot to repair this.”
He continued to discuss the appropriate use of force:
“The suspect was prepared to punch him. Vaccaro punched him first and we’re allowed to do that. Cops are not punching bags for the public.”
Vaccaro rightfully insisted on his innocence fought the charges.
But Vaccaro was acquitted of the charges against him. The judge agreed that the DA did not have sufficient evidence against him.
But his fight is not over.
According to an online petition created for Vaccaro, it states:
“Detective Vaccaro was found not guilty by a New Rochelle Criminal Court Judge. Despite all this, the City of New Rochelle brought departmental charges against Detective Vaccaro and is seeking termination. This is unfair.”
“It’s time to reinstate this decorated 17-year veteran Detective to the New Rochelle Police Department. I stand with Detective Vaccaro.”
This could happen to anyone in law enforcement. All it takes is a politically motivated DA, an angered public and a bit of bad luck to be put in the same position. It doesn’t matter if you were doing your job, political charges are exactly that- political.
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