Police Reform Advocates Call on NYPD to Fire Staten Island Officer After Brutal Arrest of Local Man With Disabilities

Christopher Pisciotta, attorney-in-charge of Legal Aid's Staten Island Criminal Defense Practice speaking.

Christopher Pisciotta, attorney-in-charge of Legal Aid's Staten Island Criminal Defense Practice speaking.

The Legal Aid Society; Sonia Adorno – mother of William Colon; The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - Staten Island Branch; Communities United For Police Reform (CPR); Make The Road New York; the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys UAW Local 2325; and other stakeholders gathered outside Staten Island Criminal Court today calling on the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to terminate Officer Vincenzo Trabolse.

Office Trabolse was recently involved in the violent arrest of William Colon, a 24-year-old Staten Island man with severe medical issues. The arrest was caught on video, and shows Trabolse repeatedly punching Colon and using a taser on him while he was in handcuffs. Mr. Colon has no criminal record. He suffers from several health issues connected to diabetes, including Mauriac Syndrome (he is 4’8” and 85 pounds), GERD, scoliosis, asthma, and other conditions.

“It’s been more than two weeks since Officer Trabolse brutalized William in his own home. The NYPD must make it clear that brute force of this nature will not be tolerated,” said Chris Pisciotta, Attorney-In-Charge of the Staten Island Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society. “Given William’s medical conditions, this attack could have been fatal. Trabolse should not be allowed to wear the badge, walk the beat, and continue to endanger the lives of other New Yorkers. We call on the NYPD to terminate his employment immediately.”

Sonia Adorno, mother of William Colon, speaking.

“No mother should bear the horrific sight of her child being manhandled by the police over a crime that he did not commit,” said Sonia Adorno, mother of William Colon. “The police are supposed to protect and serve, and their assault on William breaks that promise. Staten Island is no safer with Officer Trabolse walking the streets. The NYPD must hold him accountable.”

Trabolse and fellow officers are also being accused by the complainant in this arrest of coercion for pressuring her into signing a misdemeanor assault complaint that alleges that Colon had punched her.

The entire incident is currently being investigated by the Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB), the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), and the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office. Trabolse was previously named in a lawsuit involving the alleged assault of a man with cerebral palsy.

"The members of our union stand squarely behind Mr. Colon and all victims of police brutality," said Deborah Wright, President of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys - UAW Local 2325. "In the courts we see all too often the same pattern of police misconduct, coercion of community members, and continued impunity. The NYPD must hold Officer Trabolse accountable and end its pervasive policy of heavy handed policing in Staten Island and across the city."

"Despite the NYPD's massive re-branding Build the Block an Neighborhood Policing campaigns, the reality is we know that in our communities, they continue to abuse their power and brutalize and harass us with impunity. This is not simply a matter of bad apples, the tree is rotten. Officer Trabolse and the other officers present must be held accountable and should not be walking the streets and interacting with our community members. Officer Trabolse needs to be fired immediately and all other officers involved should be held accountable for standing by and watching a defenseless person beat in their own home,” said Darian X, Community Safety and Justice Organizer with Make The Road New York.

“The Staten Island Branch of the NAACP stands with the Legal Aid Society and others in front of this courthouse on Central Ave in Staten Island. This courthouse represents the place where justice is rendered. We are here seeking justice in the police brutality case involving 24-year-old William Colon who stands 4’ 10” and weighs about 80 pounds and physically does not appear to be a harm to a group of police officers while in hand cuffs. It would appear that the police officers had control of the situation. I would ask a question why would Police Officer Vincenzo Trabolse find it necessary to continue to punch Mr. Colon while in handcuffs and then taser him to the point that he could not stand up-------why because Trbolse who has similar issues against and does not appear to have the understanding to be a good police officer should be removed of his duty as a police officer with the NYPD. It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. It has been reported in the news media that the police were wearing body cameras. The news media has also shown video’s taken by Mr. Colon’s Brother of the brutality imposed on William. The video’s show the brother telling the police of the many health issues William is dealing with. The SI Branch of the NAACP is asking the District Attorney and the NYPD for a quick investigation and remove Vincent Trabolse from the NYPD,” said Ed Josey, President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – Staten Island Branch.