In February of 2010 off duty NYPD officer, Sgt. Adonis Ramirez, 34, after being hit by a snowball in the leg, drew his concealed weapon on a group of young men and ordered them to kneel against a fence. He now stands accused of false arrest and battery.
Inconsistencies in his story have been revealed during his recent testimony in a $10 million dollar civil suit brought against the NYPD.
In his initial report to officers Ramirez claimed that while walking, “he felt himself get struck on the back by multiple snowballs.” While testifying in court last Tuesday he admitted that it was only “one” snowball and that it struck him in the leg.
He then went on to claim that he didn’t recall telling police that the young men had chased him, although he had stated in police reports that he feared for his “immediate safety”. Previously, Ramirez had claimed the group chased him down the street and threatened him while pelting him with multiple snowballs.
Ramirez also changed his statement about how long it took him to draw his weapon after being hit a snowball, from an earlier estimate of over a minute, he revised that to 15 to 30 seconds in court testimony.
It appears that Ramirez was forced to amend his statements after surveillance footage surfaced that contradicted the officer’s version of events about multiple snowballs being thrown and the men chasing him.
Manuel Rondon, 22, Christian Perez, 23, Johnathan Rodriguez, 26, Anthony Aquino, 19, and Ariel Lopez, 21, were all arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon, attempted assault, menacing, and harassment and were forced to spend the a day and a half in jail.
The alleged weapon in question… a snowball.
None of the young men had ever been in any trouble before. 18 year old Ariel Lopez said, “We’re innocent, we didn’t do anything wrong and he overreacted.” Manuel Rondon went on to state, “I felt that at that moment one of us was going to get killed or shot.”
The attorney for the five young men claims that Ramirez, “made up facts. He never got hit with a snowball. This guy brings a loaded gun to a snowball fight. It’s an incredible abuse of power by a bully with a badge,” said attorney Neil Wollerstein.
Eventually all charges against the young men were dropped by the Bronx district attorney.
According to Ramirez, while he may not have had all his facts straight, he felt a possible threat existed and that his actions were fully justified, claiming, “I was outnumbered, and I wasn’t taking any chances.”
In the “officer needs assistance” call made to 911 to get assistance from New Yorks finest, to protect this officer from the brutal snowball “assault”, Ramirez can be heard telling the young men, while held at gunpoint, “Do not move, Do not move. You brought this upon yourself. You want to be a d–k?” His words come off as strikingly retaliatory rather than based on a fear for his own personal safety.
The abuse of authority and lack of training exhibited in this case are stunning. Mr. Ramirez must have missed the memo that badges don’t grant extra rights. The militarization of the police across the US has seemingly created a pandemic of officers acting as though they are above the law they are sworn to uphold. Hopefully, Officer Ramirez, the NYPD, and the city of New York get the memo on this one.