Small-Town (In)Justice Ex-Niagara Falls Cop, Alcorn Speaks for the first time since ordeal
Why do people stay in those little towns tucked far away from the main roads?
Just ask a former Niagara Falls policewoman.
If she had not run into the wife of a New York State Trooper that day, she probably would have left Darien Lake and never thought much about it again.
She can't do that now because, whether true or not, she wandered into an area where justice, it will always seem to her, is suspended for friends of the law.
Aug. 25, 2012 started off pleasantly for 47-year-old, off-duty police officer Kelly Acorn. She and a few friends rented a limousine, had a few beers, and took a ride to Darien Lake to see country singer Jason Aldean.
Things went well until after the concert in the ladies restroom. Waiting in a long line, moving slowly for some 10 minutes, just as Alcorn was about to enter the next available stall, she says Elizabeth R. Dake, 45, of Farmington, N. Y., cut in front of her.
"I was next in line when Dake came from the back of the line and cut in line and jumped into the stall I was about to enter," said Alcorn. "I stopped [Dake] from closing the stall door, telling her she had cut in front of me. She laid hands on me first. She pushed me back."
Dake, who stands about 5'4," and weighs 120 lbs, claims that Alcorn, a 5'7" and 160 pounds, a trained police officer, slammed her head into the concrete wall three times.
"It was a brutal attack," Dake said.
"Yes. I punched her a couple of times," Alcorn admitted. "But as for me driving her head into a concrete wall three times, this is a total absurdity."
Dake's husband, a New York State Police Detective stationed in Batavia, happened to be waiting for his wife outside the restroom when the incident occurred. Local police charged Acorn with harassment, a violation.
Dake left with her husband and was not charged. She went to the hospital several days later. Medical records show there were no injuries.
Dake, however, claimed she was out of work for nine days with "post traumatic stress."
Within a month, District Attorney, Lawrence Friedman upgraded the charges against Alcorn to assault in the third degree, a misdemeanor.
Alcorn was suspended from the Niagara Falls Police Department without pay.
"Don't get me wrong, I should've just let her cut in front of me," Alcorn said. "But to lie and then try to ruin someone's career over this? This stuff Dake and her husband did to me, the extent that they went was way overboard. Dake is vicious. She is the animal in some respects."
No evidence of Dake's injuries were produced at any point
Alcorn asked for an independent investigation by her own police department. She said Dake was able to trump up charges in Batavia because her husband had powerful connections there.
"I know he used his influence [with the DA and] the assistant DA was forced to upgrade everything," Alcorn said.
In the meantime, Alcorn' said her own police department never bothered to try to help her.
"My department wouldn't back me up," she said.
Dake wrote a letter to the Niagara Falls Police Department and the Buffalo News describing the incident as "a brutal and merciless attack."
In her letter she said Alcorn grabbed her by the hair, pulled her arms behind her back, slammed her head into a cement wall and punched her in the head, neck, arm and back.
After she was down, Dake said, Alcorn continued punching her and slammed her into the cement bathroom wall and did not stop until her husband, a state trooper, came to the scene and yelled at Alcorn to get off his wife.
Within two months, the Genesee County District Attorney brought the same matter before a grand jury. Alcorn was indicted now for felony assault, the third upgrade in the charges.
While Alcorn's pension was not at risk, if she was fired as a result of the latest, upgraded charges, she would lose her health insurance.
She was all but forced to retire, her whole life in upheaval. Alcorn prepared for trial, spending her life savings of $25,000 in legal fees.
About the time Alcorn had to decide whether to hire an expert witness for another $5,000 to prove that Dake was not injured, the DA offered her a plea deal, whereby Alcorn would be granted an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, in exchange for payment of $2,000 restitution and 100 hours of community service.
Alcorn knew there would be no justice in a Batavia courtroom, and she was out of money, so she took the plea.
Alcorn says she has no intention of going back into law enforcement. She now works at the Delphi Lockport center,, driving a forklift and building radiators.
Asked if she had anything to say to the people of Niagara Falls, she replied, "Yes, it was wrong for me to do that, but I didn't do what she said I did. I am not an animal. Because I have been called that. It was an unfortunate altercation. I hate to say it, but it happens everywhere, bars, anywhere, but I want people to know I didn't do what she said I did."
For Alcorn, the irony is that Dake, the one who started the altercation by cutting in front of her, was described by the media as "the victim."
|Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr.||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||
Feb 25, 2014