Just Another Guy with Opinions

Officer Wayne Simoes on Trial

Posted by shadmia on May 20, 2009

Wayne Simoes 2Irma Marquez

It was on March 3, 2007 that Yonkers police officer Wayne Simoes,39, picked up a drunk, unarmed Irma Marquez, 44, and body-slammed her head-first into a ceramic tile floor so hard that she had to be hospitalized, receiving:

A head injury with related loss of consciousness, memory loss, a fractured jaw, two black eyes, facial contusions, severe swelling and bruising, hemorrhaging in both eyes, laceration to the nose, chin and mouth, neck and back pain, bruising and/or lacerations about the back, arms, hands, right knee, right leg, right hip, right breast and various other harms.

After the body-slam, officer Wayne Simoes then handcuffed and charged the unconscious and seriously injured woman with Obstruction of Governmental Administration and Disorderly Conduct. On May 9, 2008 a jury acquitted Ms. Marquez of all charges. Irma Marquez has filed an $11.3 million lawsuit.

In addition to the lawsuit, Wayne Simoes was arrested and indicted on federal civil rights charges that allege he assaulted Irma Marquez and violated her right against unreasonable force from a police officer. If convicted he faces up to 10 years in jail. That trial has just started (5/18/09).

Irma Marquez 4Wayne Simoes 2

In the White Plains courtroom on the first day of Wayne Simoes’ trial were his wife and parents. Also in attendance were several off-duty Yonkers police officers.

The first witness to testify was fellow police officer, John Liberatore, who was on the scene at the time of the incident. Irma Marquez’ niece was being attended to by medics. He (John Liberatore) testified that Marquez was drunk and concerned for her niece’s safety but had not threatened anyone and had not been warned she would be arrested.

He said he saw Simoes reach around Marquez’s waist from behind, lift her off the floor and throw her down, without losing his balance, slipping or falling. Liberatore said he turned to his partner and, using an expletive, asked “What the … just happened here?”

His partner “just shrugged,” Liberatore testified.

Prosecutor Benjamin Torrance told jurors that Simoes “deliberately, intentionally and powerfully threw Ms. Marquez into that floor.” He said that Marquez had done nothing to incur such force and that none of the other officers at the scene considered her a threat, allowing her to walk around freely as they investigated the brawl.

When she hit the floor, “the sound resounded throughout the room” and a pool of blood formed around her head, the prosecutor said.

Irma Marquez 3Irma Marquez 2

Defense attorney Andrew Quinn offered the jury a different version of what happened. He told jurors that the video did not tell the whole story. He said the recording was a time-lapse video, with moments missing, and is not meant to be used to judge speed or force. He said it would show a different story when viewed frame by frame.  “We’re going to break this down for you,” Quinn said.

Quinn did, however, acknowledge that Marquez had been injured, but said she was “stumbling drunk” and getting in the way of officers trying to aid her niece. He said Simoes approached her and tried to handcuff her, but she pulled away. After she bumped into another officer, he said, she and Simoes went to the floor, with Simoes holding her and trying to avoid both a pool table and the injured niece on the floor.

“His intent was to control the situation,” Quinn said.

In a surprise move before the start of the trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna Skotko said the prosecution won’t call Irma Marquez. She did not say why federal prosecutors would not be calling Marquez to testify. Simoes’ defense team expressed surprise at the decision:

“I’m at a loss to understand it,” lawyer John Patten said during a break. “It’s obviously a tactic by the government. My guess is they don’t want her to be questioned about her belligerence and lack of sobriety that night.”

The trial continues……..

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