On December 20th, an officer working with the New York Police Department was arrested and charged with criminal misconduct after an incident with a detainee back in May was investigated. As of now, the officer, Philip Fioranelli, pleaded not guilty and is not taking any responsibility for what happened during the incident.
According to reports, Fioranelli was working as a paid security officer at a lower Manhattan parking garage on May 18. The day prior Aqil Alshimary, the alleged victim, had reportedly purchased a multiday parking ticket. When Alshimary arrived the following day, he expected to be able to pick up his car without any problems, but an agent watching the lot wanted him to produce the ticket he bought as proof.
When Alshimary couldn’t produce the ticket, a security supervisor called Fioranelli out to the scene to address the problem. Fioranelli told Alshimary that he would have to leave if he couldn’t show his ticket, but the man refused to do so. Eventually, video footage shows a skirmish break out between the two, and Fioranelli tripped over a nearby bicycle rack.
In response, Fioranelli can be seen pulling out his NYPD-issued firearm and pointing it at Alshimary. The victim completely stopped resisting and complied with Fioranelli’s orders. He laid face-down on the ground and put both of his hands behind his back.
At that point, things go south. Fioranelli reportedly mounted the detainee, took out his pepper spray, and sprayed multiple bursts of pepper spray into Alshimary’s eyes and mouth. Even worse, he allegedly used his own hand to intentionally spread the chemicals all over Alshimary’s face. A few seconds later, the officer sprayed more bursts of pepper spray into the victim’s face.
Fioranelli then reportedly gets distracted by getting the pepper spray in his own eyes before he again sprays the victim. The victim was later charged with assault and harassment.
Prior to this incident, Fioranelli had been a part of the police force since 2004. He was immediately suspended following the investigation of the incident.
Criminal Official Misconduct: What Does it Mean?
Under New York’s laws, it’s considered official misconduct when a public servant, like a police officer, uses their position of power to harm someone else or obtain a personal benefit in relation to their official duties. In New York City, getting convicted of official misconduct is punishable by up to one year in jail. A conviction could also result in fines up to $1,000.
On top of suffering from criminal penalties, the charges will also have professional consequences. In most cases, getting charged with official misconduct will result in a suspension or termination of your job. If you get convicted, then you may not be able to obtain another public servant job in the future.
Police officers aren’t the only officials that can get charged with official misconduct. Public servants includes government employees, judges, and more. If you’ve recently been charged with official misconduct in New York, then our attorneys can help.
Schedule a call with our firm to learn more about your options.