Search This Blog

Friday, June 22, 2012

NYPD Officer Gets Five Years for False Arrest

NYPD officer Michael Daragjati

A white police officer who falsely arrested a black Staten Island man was sentenced to almost five years in jail Friday.

Officer Michael Daragjati was given the stiff sentence for claiming in a police report that the 31-year-old man resisted arrest last April after he complained about being stopped and frisked.

Daragjati, 33 years old, who later called the man a racial slur in a taped conversation, pleaded guilty in January to extortion and a civil rights violation.

Calling Friday a “day of sadness and tragedy,” U.S. District Judge William Kuntz said Daragjati had chances to change his behavior but chose not to – he has had two civilian complaints and three civil suits filed against him, all by black men.

“You methodically destroyed your career,” Kuntz said. “You never stumbled over your career. You kicked it to the curb.”

Kuntz said Daragjati was much like the rogue police officer portrayed by Denzel Washington in the film “Training Day.’’ “Today is not simply your training day. Today is also your early judgment day,’’ Kuntz said.

Daragjati said he made a “bad judgment call” during an emotional statement to the packed Brooklyn courtroom, which included the unidentified victim as well as Daragjati’s wife, Nicole, brother and other supporters.

He also begged to spend his sentence at home so he could be close to his family. “My daughters know Daddy puts bad people in jail,” Daragjati said.”How do I explain Daddy’s in jail?”

But Kuntz said the statements focused only on the impact on Daragjati and his family but said “virtually nothing” about his victims.

He sentenced Daragjati to 57 months behind bars – nine months on the civil rights violation and 48 for an off-duty incident in which he and a group of men beat a man whom they wrongly believed stole Daragjati’s snow plow.

Outside court, Daragjati’s attorney Ronald Fischetti acknowledged his client was a racist, but said he felt the extortion sentence was “much too harsh.” He said he felt the judge didn’t take into account his client’s time as an officer and the letters filed in support of him.

“He seemed to focus on the civil rights violation,” Fischetti said.

The lawyer told the court his client was bankrupt and that he and his wife “don’t have $1000 between them.” “He is not a dirty cop. He is a disgraced cop,” Fischetti said.

Fischetti also asked that his client serve his time near home. Kuntz later said he would recommend an appropriate prison.

Federal prosecutors previously said Daragjati’s behavior was driven by “racial animus”. The officer was caught on a wire-tapped conversation telling a female friend he “fried” the falsely arrested man, using a racial epithet in reference to him.

The Staten Island District Attorney office has been reviewing Daragjati’s arrests since the charges first surfaced in October 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment