Rochester, N.Y. --- Locust Club Police Union President Mike Mazzeo is urging the public and local leaders to take a measured approach when scrutinizing the actions of two Rochester Police Officers.
"This is a difficult job and I think you also got to take into the totality of not only the arrest, the investigation (and) the arrest but the subsequent prosecution as it moves through the criminal justice system and you just can't say this case got dropped so here's the blame. That is what I think everybody needs to hold off on,” Mazzeo said Tuesday night in an exclusive interview with 13WHAM News.
(For detailed background read our prior reports by clicking here and here.)
Mazzeo is responding to recent questions surrounding two drug investigations involving Officers Ryan Hartley and Rob Osipovitch. In one case a judge dismissed all charges against a defendant after video evidence presented contradicted police reports both officers completed.
In a more recent case most of the charges were dismissed and a plea deal with no jail time was accepted after a judge “called into question” Officer Ryan Hartley’s testimony and credibility while conducting what he determined to be an “unconstitutional” and “warrantless” search of the defendant’s home.
In both cases Hartley and Osipovitch recovered quantities of drugs and in one of those cases a handgun was recovered.
“All I'm saying to the public is give our people the benefit of the doubt for the job that they do,” Mazzeo said. “These people have guns and drugs these officers are taking guns and drugs off our street. We got kids getting killed in their front yards and the corners. We got kids getting killed in line buying sneakers…They go out every night and they give you their lives; give them at least the benefit to present their side and to show the facts where they fall.”
Tuesday evening a statement from Police Chief James Sheppard stated that Officer Hartley will be removed from patrol duties while the department conducts “a thorough and impartial review of the investigation, arrest, and subsequent prosecution in that case.”
Judge Doug Randall’s written decision criticizing Officer Hartley was dated August 9th but Chief Sheppard acknowledged that he only became aware of it through 13WHAM News media inquiries on Monday.