News 10 - WHEC.COM by Ray Levato - June 24, 2011
Rochester, NY- A group of Rochester citizens meeting to show support for a woman arrested while video taping a police traffic stop claim police harassment. Members of the group IndyMedia say several police officers converged on Clarissa Street late Thursday afternoon and began ticketing their parked cars for being more than 12 inches from the curb. A member of the group video taped the incident and posted the video on line. The pictures show police using a pink ruler to measure the distance from the curb to the wheels, and then issuing parking tickets. Spokeswoman Dawn Zuppelli says this was obvious retaliation. "This was a clear intimidation tactic. And I'm outraged about it. It was an appalling use of city (police) resources. They told us it was citizen complaints about how the cars were parked, and I don't believe it for a second. I absolutely think we're being targeted. They're leaving us a message that they are angry about this. It's gotten international coverage at this point, the misconduct of the RPD and they want to let us know that they're not happy about it," Zuppelli said. Zuppleii says their meeting was well publicized on all the social media networks. Four police cars showed up within 20 minutes of the meeting starting. Emily Good was arrested earlier this week while taking pictures of police from her yard using her cell phone. The police officer reportedly instructed Good to go back into her home because he felt his safety was threatened. She's been charged with obstructing governmental administration. Her arrest and video have drawn outrage and national media coverage. Zuppelli said she and other concerned citizens Thursday were simply discussing what she called the the Rochester Police Department's harassment and misconduct surrounding Good's case and other cases in the city. "It's ridiculous and it's going to make more of a mockery of the Rochester Police Department," said Zuppelli. "We're not going to be intimidated by RPD and we're not going to stop organizing around this and bringing these injustices to light." Davy Vara has been critical of the Rochester Police Department in the past. "The officers are rogue. They need to be put on notice that this behavior is not tolerated." And Vara says it goes beyond what happened yesterday. "Our youth especially are being taught when they see incidents such as this clear retaliation and intimidation tactics by Rochester police officers, they're being taught not to respect authority." News 10NBC has put in requests for reaction to the Clarissa Street incident with both Police Chief James Sheppard and Mayor Thomas Richards. A spokesman for Sheppard says the police department is trying to gather all the information. Rochester Police Union President Mike Mazzeo told News 10NBC that he has serious concerns about releasing the names and addresses of the officers online. He wouldn't comment directly on charges police were deliberately intimidating citizens. He says he doesn't want to put more fuel on the fire. Mazzeo says, "City police officers write ticket every night after parking enforcement officers leave for the day. And if there's a parking infraction they come across in their patrol areas, they will write those violations. That's part of their job."