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Mongielo Beaten, Arrested by Police in Lockport at Seat Belt Checkpoint

By Mike Hudson

To some, he is a tireless warrior for human rights, determined to fight the power of sinister forces of Big Brother inside our own government that would strip its citizens of their inalienable rights, granted by God and codified by America’s Founding Fathers at the height of what history knows as the Age of Enlightenment.

A self-described libertarian who says his political views often put him at odds with the small-time chiselers and mental defectives who call the shots out Lockport way, Mongielo is firmly convinced that he fights not only for himself and his cadre of supporters, but also for Americans everywhere.

To others, however, perhaps even the majority who voted against him in his run for Lockport Town supervisor in 2009, Mongielo is a guy with a chip on his shoulder as big as the Brooklyn Bridge, a know-it-all whose control and authority issues have repeatedly landed him in trouble with law enforcement, and a master manipulator of the right wing media whose antics ought rightly to be thought of as publicity stunts.

Whatever your views on Mongielo, the fact remains that he got the hell beat out of him Thursday afternoon on Lincoln Street by at least three Lockport police officers following a routine traffic stop, however.

 “I’d been out on a fire call – I’m a member of the Lockport Volunteer Fire Department – and I was on my way home to walk the dog when I saw the road block,” Mongielo told the Niagara Falls Reporter.

It was shortly before 2 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon near the end of the month and the cops, perhaps running short of doughnut money, were randomly stopping motorists, looking for some minor infraction to write a ticket for.

“When it was my turn, I pulled up, and the policeman who was on duty just waved me through,” Mongielo said.

But the entire incident rankled him, offending his sense of justice and fair play to such an extent that, as he drove past, he was moved to speak.

“What is this,” Mongielo asked the officer. "We don't live in Nazi Germany, do we?"

Despite the question, which went unanswered, Mongielo passed through the checkpoint unmolested.

He went home and walked the dog, had a bite to eat for lunch and then headed back to his business, he said.

Mongielo is the owner of Mongielo’s Complete Auto Service in on Robinson Road in Lockport.

According to Mongielo, the best way to get back from his house on Day Rd. to his business is to go down Lincoln Street, which of course took him back through the police checkpoint, just a short time after he had compared the operation to a Nazi outrage to one of the men running it.

This time, he wasn’t so fortunate as to just be waved through.

“He told me my registration sticker was torn and said to pull into the parking lot of the bowling alley there,” Mongielo said. “I told him what he was doing was unconstitutional, and I asked him whether this had anything to do with the fact that I was supposed to testify against another Lockport police officer (in an unrelated case) the next day.”

According to the police report of Lockport Police Officer William E Jones, Mongielo, "approached the checkpoint, committing a traffic infraction."

According to Mongielo that infraction may have been using his cell phone.

 Jones continued in his report, "Mongielo was uncooperative (and) refused to comply with reporting officer's repeated requests to provide him with identification."

Mongielo acknowledged that he was slow to respond to the demand for identification. He said, as he reached for his wallet, he turned on his cell phone video camera.

This seemingly prompted the officer to engage Mongielo and he took the cell phone from him and shut it off.

Suddenly, Mongielo said, the officer opened the door of his vehicle and yanked him out of the driver’s seat.

“Now there were three of them,” he said. “They twisted my arm back up behind my back almost to my neck and slammed me down face first on the pavement. I kept saying, ‘Why are you doing this? I didn’t do anything.’”

Mongielo said his right arm was pinned underneath his body, his own weight and that of the officer who was holding him.

“He kept saying, ‘Give me your other arm, give me your other arm,' but I couldn’t,” he said. “One of them (Jones) dropped down on his knee, smashing it into the back of my head. Now there’s blood everywhere, my glasses are broken, and I started screaming for help.”

Handcuffed, Mongielo was thrown into the back of a police cruiser. He begged for medical attention, but was told he had to go to the police station first.

“At no time was I told I was under arrest,” Mongielo said.

Jones contradicted this. "Mongielo was informed that he was under arrest and began to struggle with patrol," Jones wrote.

Jones' version does not mention Mongielo's claim that he attacked and injured Mongielo and instead mentions that he himself was injured in his struggle to subdue Mongielo.

"During the arrest, reporting officer sustained abrasion to his left knee."

Judging by the injuries sustained by each, Mongielo apparently used his face to beat the hell out of Jones's knee.

Mongielo was charged with two counts of obstruction of governmental administration, resisting arrest, driving an unregistered motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle while using a cell phone and second-degree harassment.

As Mongielo continued to plead to be taken to the hospital, police shoved a piece of paper in front of him and told him to sign it. When he did, under protest, officers told him he was free to leave. After paying for the police ordered tow, of his vehicle, Mongielo was taken by ambulance to the hospital for treatment.

Repeated attempts to reach Lockport Police Chief Lawrence Eggert for comment on this story were unsuccessful.

Mongielo is still embroiled in a five-year battle with the Town of Lockport over an electric sign he had in front of his business.

 In 2010, Mongielo was cited for six violations of the town’s sign ordinance, tried before Lockport Town Justice Raymond Schilling, fined $750 and given a one-year adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (ACD), meaning that the charges would disappear so long as he stayed out of trouble.

In August 2011, Mongielo used the sign to advertise a benefit or Niagara County Deputy Sheriff Alan Gerhardt who had lost both of his legs in an automobile accident, and town Building Inspector Brian Belson charged Mongielo with violation of the ACD.

Schilling denied Mongielo a change of venue due to the political overtones of the prosecution, found him guilty of violating terms of the ACD, and sentenced him to 15 days in jail and another $250 fine.

Judge Matthew J. Murphy set aside the conviction because Schilling hadn’t allowed Mongielo to have a jury trial as he’d requested, but then kicked the case back to Schilling.

Mongielo’s legal difficulties continue to mount, even as he plans yet another run for town supervisor in November.

Thus far, he has been beaten, sentenced to jail and fined $1,000, all because he refuses to keep quiet about what he believes to be the erosion of civil liberties here.

Crackpot or hero? Sometimes with David Mongielo, it’s hard to tell.

Stay tuned. We will be following this story closely.

Police roadblocks, which began more than three decades ago under the guise of “DUI Checkpoints” designed to protect society against the menace of drunk driving, rapidly expanded in scope once the United States Supreme Court ruled the practice to be entirely in keeping with the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which had previously protected Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures by the cops.

Now they are a common fact of life in all 50 states, and most citizens think nothing of being pulled over for no reason whatsoever in order to prove to some traffic cop who couldn’t cut it as a detective or SWAT team member that they indeed have a valid driver's license, that their automobile registration is in order and they are docile enough to wear a seatbelt whether they want to or not simply because they were told to.

Like a Nazi, really?

It could be said there were any number of parallels between what the Lockport city police were doing that sunny afternoon on Lincoln Street and what went on in Hitler’s Nazi Germany. In both cases, for example, uniformed men with guns stopped people for no reason beyond the fact that they could and demanded to see their “papers.”

It could also be said there were a tremendous number of differences. In Nazi Germany, for example, not having ones papers in order could result in a trip to a concentration camp, where six million Jews and three million political dissidents, Gypsies, homosexuals, union organizers and other “undesirables” were murdered between 1933 and 1945.

When your papers aren’t in order in Lockport, they generally just give you a ticket or a warning, though, so that’s kind of different.

But should you protest to being stopped without probable cause, it is not entirely different.

Lockport police will beat the crap out of you.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

JUL 02, 2013