Justice prevails. Silvon Simmons had been in jail for 18 months because on one fateful night he decided to call the RPD. Silvon assumed the RPD would help him stay safe when he feared harm from someone in his neighborhood. Instead, Simmons was misidentified, pursued, and shot by Officer Joseph Ferrigno. However, Simmons is being spared finally from this grotesque criminal justice system.
Judge Ciaccio rebuked the Rochester Police Department with his decision to overturn Simmons’ conviction, rejecting the sloppy testimony from RPD officers during the case. Read Gary Craig’s indispensable reporting on Silvon’s Case; from the court proceedings where the prosecution presented dubious Shot Spotter evidence, to Judge Ciaccio overturning the verdict.
This case highlights the deep issues with criminal justice in Rochester, NY. Silvon shouldn’t ever have been misidentified, pursued, and shot by the notoriously unfit-for-the-badge Joseph “Joey” Ferrigno. Where’s the accountability RPD? CRB? PSS? Mayor’s office? Council? Why is Ferrigno with 23 excessive use of force complaints still employed by this department? It’s a rhetorical question in some regards.
After the judge’s decision, Joe Ferrigno Sr. walked up behind Charles Burkwit, Silvon’s civil attorney, shoved him and called him a “piece of shit” and an “ambulance chaser.” He leaned over and looked at Silvon and called him a “piece of garbage.” Meanwhile, Ferrigno looked at Silvon and said “You’re lucky, next time we’ll come harder.” Chief of Police Michael Ciminelli was in the crowd of nearly 8 rows of uniformed police as was Michael Mazzeo, police union president. After these comments were made, the blue gang got up and left the court and went back to their building. No one was held accountable for their threats.
(photo from Tina MacIntyre-Yee)