Cop-bash charges dropped as Sunset Park vendor proves NYPD, prosecutors lied

To punt-ect and serve: Video shows police officer Vincent Ciardiello kicking Jonathan Daza after police had restrained him on the ground.
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Prosecutors have dropped the charges against a Sunset Park fruit vendor who was arrested for assault and resisting arrest last fall after a cellphone video contradicted the police account, and proved that the officer who accused him couldn’t have witnessed the crimes he supposedly committed.

Police arrested Jonathan Daza on Sept. 14 following a dustup over his failure to move his fruit-stand once a street fair permit expired.

But a bystander’s cellphone video shows officer Vincent Ciardiello kicking Daza in the back while Daza was on the ground and restrained by other officers. The video got the officer into hot water with the department and helped exonerate Daza and two family members who were also arrested, the family’s attorney said.

“In November, the [assistant district attorney] on the case put in an affirmation swearing on facts that clearly hadn’t happened, because there’s a video of the thing,” said Rebecca Heinegg, who represented Daza and his two sisters.

Police botched the criminal complaints against the Dazas and defendants Edwin Morales and Edwin Rosario by presenting the officer who signed a deposition against them as a witness to the events — even though he saw none of the actions he alleged — according to a Jan. 22 memo from the District Attorney’s Office.

Similarly, a document that an assistant district attorney filled out alleges that Daza had an altercation with the officer who gave the deposition the charges were based on, even though the two never interacted, the memo states.

A cellphone video of the scuffle proved the officer who accused Daza in the deposition was not a witness, Heinegg said.

The county dismissed charges against Daza. A grand jury declined to indict Wendy Daza, who was charged with assaulting a police officer, Heinegg said. Police later backpedaled, according to the Jan. 22 memo, claiming they meant to accuse Cindy Daza — not Wendy — of shoving an officer to the ground. Prosecutors told Heinegg they plan to drop charges against Wendy at her next court date in March, Heinegg said.

But the cases somehow dragged on for five months, despite the fact that the prosecutors had seen the exonerating video that showed the police deposition was false, according to Heinegg.

“They seem to have completely ignored the video at first, although the [assistant district attorney] confirmed to me that he’d seen it,” she said. “It wasn’t until I submitted a motion and the video to the court and the ADA’s supervisors that they looked into it and came up with the memo.”

The video went viral after advocacy group El Grito de Sunset Park posted it to its Facebook page in the days following the scuffle. The group’s director said the Daza family’s vindication was a wonderful rarity.

“We look at it like a miracle,” said Dennis Flores. “We’re lucky that this went their way. It was clear in the video that this cop just walked up to him and kicked him for no reason. The police officer wasn’t defending himself, he was just being malicious.”

The incident involving Daza, and another video showing a police officer shoving a pregnant woman to the ground in Sunset Park sparked outrage last summer.

Department bigwigs attended a town hall Flores organized in Sunset Park in October and quietly took a more-than-two-hour verbal lashing from activists and victims of police violence.

The Police Department suspended Ciardiello for 30 days after the incident, and he is currently on modified duty, a police spokeswoman said. The department did not immediately respond to questions about his pay or the status of an investigation into the incident.

Flores wants to see Ciardiello charged.

“It sends a bad tone to the community that cops can get away with this stuff,” he said.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Good exposure: Prosecutors dropped charges that Jonathan Daza attacked police and resisted arrest after video evidence led to his exoneration.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
The DA's office was too busy filling out plea bargains to gang youth to properly review the video. And these innocent people will still have a record and still be in the system. Any perjury against the cop that lied on the stand? The 3:50 to 4 minute mark was the best. Straight to the new'
Feb. 13, 2015, 8:11 am
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
I hope the fruit man gets paid.
Feb. 13, 2015, 9:02 am
The Philster from Bergen Beach says:
I want to support the cops, but what am I supposed to make of this outrageous behavior? Where are these cops' heads at?! And no consequences for them after felonious assault, lying, and generally putting these people through the wringer? Any comments, Mr. Lynch? Commissioner Bratton?
Feb. 13, 2015, 10:32 am
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
Why is ANY FORCE used or an arrest even attempted for "failure to move his fruit-stand once a street fair permit expired."

Are you freakin' kidding me??!

Do the precinct chiefs and the police commissioner's officer really think this is the sort of policing we want in our communities? Aggressive closure of street fair vendors?!

This is really the same as the Garner case (with less deadly consequences). Eric Garner was also being arrested and force being used for an offense that required nothing more than summons being issued. A piece of paper. No touching.
Feb. 13, 2015, 10:46 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
These people are a disgrace to New York and it's disgusting that De Blasio and Mark-Viverito want to reward them by hiring more of them.

We need massive layoffs of the NYPD.
Feb. 13, 2015, 11:43 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
When Bratton proposed making resisting arrest a felony, my reaction was "only if the penalty for lying about resisting arrest is the death penalty." This proves my point, which was half in jest. Cops lie about resisting arrest constantly.
Feb. 13, 2015, 11:56 am
Rob from Greenpoint says:
Seriously, what are the chances of perjury or assault charge?
Feb. 13, 2015, 12:09 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Chances of an assault charge? What do you think this is, Alabama? We let our cops run wild in NYC. Only in the south do cops get held accountable.
Feb. 13, 2015, 2:32 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
The officer in question must be immediately fired and charged with criminal assault. The officers who perjured themselves need to be fired and go to jail. The prosecutors who ignored the evidence, covered up for the cops, and put the family through the wringer must be fired, disbarred, and charged. If they are not, then there is no rule of law. If there is no rule of law, then everything about this American civilization will fall apart very quickly. I shake my head. The corruption, incompetence, and brazen criminality of those in government and positions of authority is accelerating every day. Where do they really expect their behavior to lead? Hint: it will not lead anywhere good for them at all.
Feb. 13, 2015, 3:30 pm
Joe from Bensonhurst says:
This video proves Mr. Daza's was only guilty of exercising his right to stay quiet when confronted by police. In his own words to the female was " stay quiet, you don't have to answer " and for that he was assaulted, stomped, kicked, punched, thrown to the ground like an animal. When this behavior is viewed on CNN about brutality by a foreign government on it's citizens we are outraged. In New York however, it's police force is allowed to get away with choking, raping, shooting someone reaching for his wallet 50 times, shoot someone 50 times for trying to get away from a maniac stranger jumping on his car. Well at least as of January 2014 DOI now has an inspector general to monitor the NYPD and make recommendations. Here is one recommendation: Prison.
Feb. 13, 2015, 8:34 pm
Joe Hill from Brooklyn says:
Guys and Gals... I am sorry that Mr.Daza suffered this inequity, however there is something much more important to attend to.
The Police Dept is fighting back when it comes to ALL our rights. Bratton is a snake he puts on one face and goes behind the scenes to do the same ol same ol shuffle. I think pretty soon all your cells phones may be confiscated and determined to aid in "resisting arrest" .
Get involved. Send letters to the city council. If you don't, all of the brothers and sisters, friends families who have been shot, abused and used may be for naught. Read this and pass it on.
Feb. 14, 2015, 9:48 am
jay from nyc says:
so the cop lies,beat up a guy, then attempts to send the guy to jail and all the cop gets is a 30 day suspension? Did I read this right? What an out rage. Not only should this cop be fired and be in jail, but same thing for all of the others who were involved and who ever thinks a 30 day suspension was adequate should also lose their job. This kind of thing cannot be allowed to go on.
The police want and deserve our support, but they can't have it both ways, they also are accountable to themselves and need to show that every day.
Feb. 14, 2015, 10:59 am
Joe from Bensonhurst says:
A private citizen would have received multiple felony charges for the same actions including perjury. Apparently a city employee with a badge gets a fine. Thirty day suspension is maybe a few grand. That's probably less than Mr. Daza had to pay for an attorney. Shouldn't the police be held to a higher standard ?
All Mr. Daza did was excercise his right to remain silent. Good thing he was not selling loose cigarettes or he could have been killed.
Feb. 14, 2015, 12:26 pm
Frmr NYer from Castle Hill says:
The police are wrong as can be on this one, and they should be dealt with for their criminal behavior and the collusion among the law "enforcement" system in NYC. These people always talk about "respect for the law" when they have NONE themselves. They just want people to fear them and obey them because they have the power to kill unarmed citizens. They look like bunch of gangsters in this video, hitting, and pushing unarmed citizens. Totally unprofessional and unnecessarily dangerous behavior on the part of the police. Everyone can see they're a bunch of out-of-control amateurs who have NO BUSINESS being "officers of the peace"! This is a sickening display of their incompetence. The lot of them should be fired!
Feb. 18, 2015, 1:14 pm

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