7/22/2010 - Posted by:
Spinella & Associates
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Police Held Accountable for Execution on Streets of New Haven

Spinella & Associates not only won a substantial verdict in a fatal shooting of a resident by New Haven police, they also exposed flaws in the department's community-based policing system as the result of a six-week-long trial in 1997-1998. A jury found that a New Haven police officer who shot and killed local resident Vincent Rizzotti (name changed to preserve confidentiality) used excessive force. They awarded Rizzotti's mother significant verdicts against the shooting officer, the Chief of Police, and the City of New Haven. Spinella & Associates argued that the officers involved lied and covered up wrongdoing. Spinella & Associates told the jury the officers were sent on dangerous foot patrols with no backup, that they were not trained properly how to stop cars while on foot patrol, that what actions they did take violated their training and were part of a city-wide practice. Spinella & Associates also discredited the officers' tale that one of the officers, who reported no serious injuries, was struck by a car Rizzotti was driving. To do this, Spinella & Associates made effective use of deposition testimony of the defendant police officers, and then used blowups of the scene of the shooting. Spinella & Associates also produced expert testimony and charts from an engineer, which entirely contradicted the version of events presented by the two rookie officers, both of whom had been previously cleared by both the State's Attorney's Office and the City's Board of Police Commissioners after a three-day hearing. Spinella & Associates was also confronted by Dr. Henry Lee of O. J. Simpson fame, who testified for the City. Police claimed they saw Rizzotti make a drug deal and then tried to get him to stop his station wagon. The evidence refuted the defendant's contention that any drug deal was ever consummated. "I'm happy that Vinnie Rizzotti's name has been vindicated, and that someone has finally found that what happened was not his fault, the Spinella & Associates attorney said. “Nobody in this country, regardless of his or her station in life, deserves to be executed in the streets for a suspected crime."
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