Monday, October 13, 2008

Trooper Mark Piccirillo Suspended for Domestic Violence

The resident state police trooper in Bethlehem has been suspended after Naugatuck police arrested him in connection with a domestic violence dispute with his wife at the couple's home last week.

Trooper Mark Piccirillo, 48, of 24 City Brook Road, was charged by Naugatuck police with misdemeanor charges of third-degree assault and breach of peace after the incident, which occurred in the couple's home on Thursday. The trooper's wife, Mary Piccirillo, 49, of the same address, faces the same charges.

The Naugatuck Police Department would not release a report of the incident on Tuesday. The Republican-American has filed a request for the report through the Freedom of Information Act.

Attempts to reach Piccirillo on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Although little is known about what happened during the domestic dispute, state law says a third-degree assault charge, the most serious charge the Piccirillos face, can be levied if a person causes physical injury to another person.

According to documents on file at Waterbury Superior Court, Piccirillo and his wife posted separate $200 cash bonds at the police department on Thursday night and were arraigned at the courthouse on Friday.

Their case was remanded to Family Court Services of Waterbury, and the Piccirillos have signed court-imposed protective orders that say they will refrain from "imposing any physical restraint upon the person or liberty of the protected person" and from "threatening, harassing, stalking, assaulting, molesting, sexually assaulting or attacking the protected person."

Mark Piccirillo, who has been a state trooper in Bethlehem for at least 13 years, was ordered by the court to not possess any firearms, including all weapons issued to him by the Connecticut State Police.

Lt. J. Paul Vance, the state police spokesman, said Piccirillo's police powers have been suspended and that Piccirillo has been reassigned to undisclosed administrative duty, which requires him to have no contact with the public.

Vance said state police will conduct an internal affairs investigation of the case.

Vance also said another trooper from state police Troop L in Litchfield has been assigned to be the acting resident state trooper in Bethlehem "pending the outcome of this incident."

Vance did not immediately know Tuesday which trooper replaced Piccirillo.

New Taser Policy for San Antonio


Citing research that links Tasers to the deaths of drug users, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus announced a new policy banning the use of the weapons on anyone known to be under the influence.

The policy also calls for more training and prohibits more than one officer from using a Taser on one person. The policy on Tasers, which deliver electrical shocks that can disrupt a person's neuromuscular system, is effective immediately, McManus said.

"You have to see them using (drugs)," McManus said in Tuesday's online edition of the San Antonio Express-News. The newspaper had published an investigation into how police have used the weapons since December 2006.

He said the new policy, issued Thursday in an internal bulletin, is in correlation to " excited delirium," a diagnosis described as an overdose of adrenaline to the heart and a possible cause of death among people who were shocked by Tasers.

"The research has connected excited delirium to deaths," McManus said. "Excited delirium is a possibility when drugs are being used."

The policy does not limit the number of times an officer can shock someone, although it requires that police stop using the weapon when a person is in custody. The new policy requires officers to get 16 hours of training, doubling the requirement. The 141 officers who already use the weapons will get the additional eight hours of training.

An audit of the San Antonio Police Department released in July says the department should clarify its use of deadly and Taser force and should make its complaint process more accessible to citizens.

San Antonio city officials hired an outside firm to audit the department after several high-profile incidents in which officers were accused of committing crimes, on and off the job, and activists complained of excessive force and civil rights violations.

McManus, though he denied there were any widespread problems with the department, asked for an outside review, and the city hired Police Executive Research Forum, a think tank, to look over the department.

The audit resulted in 141 recommendations and was released weeks later than expected, but McManus said more than two-thirds were already planned for implementation. Seven, including one to list all complaints in officers' files, are being ignored.

Former Sgt. Frank DeSanto Jr Released from Hospital After Arrest

A hospital spokeswoman confirmed Monday that the former Barnegat Township police officer accused of violating a restraining order was released from Southern Ocean County Hospital on Sunday.

Former Barnegat police Sgt. Frank DeSanto Jr., 31, was arrested at the Atlantic City Service Area on the Garden State Parkway. The Monroe Township, Middlesex County, Police Department had issued a no-bail warrant for his arrest and subsequently took him into custody Sunday after an initial arrest by State Police and Galloway Township po-lice.

Officials from the Middlesex County department confirmed Monday that it was their department that made the arrest, but could not release more information until this morning because senior authorities were off for the Columbus Day holiday. Earlier reports said the arrest was made by officers from another department.

The Middlesex County Jail did not have DeSanto in custody Monday, according to a shift commander there.

DeSanto sent his wife a text message saying he was suicidal, armed and threatening to harm police officers, which violated the restraining order, according to State Police.

Galloway police received a tip that he would be in the area, and, when police found his SUV at the rest stop, they closed it for a half-hour to search for him.

Eventually an unidentified woman dropped DeSanto off and police then arrested him at about 3 p.m.

After his arrest, police said they took him to Southern Ocean County Hospital because he complained of chest pains. On Monday SOCH spokeswoman Lisa Weinstein said he was treated and released Sunday.

Deputy Shawn Lally Charged with DUI

A Sarasota County sheriff's deputy found himself behind bars this weekend for DUI.

28-year-old Shawn Lally was pulled over Saturday night around 11:30 p.m. in Venice.

Witnesses say Lally was driving over 100 miles per hour on the interstate in his personal vehicle before exiting onto Jacaranda Blvd. where he was seen swerving.

A report says Lally showed signs of being under the influence of alcohol, but refused all field sobriety tests, including a breath test. He told deputies that he was on his way home from a wedding and hadn't had anything alcoholic to drink.

Lally is charged with Driving Under the Influence.

Spokesman Lt. Chuck Lesaltato says the sheriff will decide Monday what action will be taken against the deputy as far as his job.