Acquittal of Michael Vaccaro on Police Brutality Charges Shows Hypocrisy of 2020 New Rochelle BLM Protestors and Black Leaders

Acquittal of Michael Vaccaro on Police Brutality Charges Shows Hypocrisy of 2020 New Rochelle BLM Protestors and Black Leaders

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (July 21, 2022) — I spent the last four days at the New Rochelle City Courthouse reporting on the Michael Vaccaro Trial. This after 17 months of reporting almost exclusively on the incidents on February 15, 2021, that resulted in the immediate arrest of Malik Fogg and the arraignment more than four months later of Michael Vaccaro. I wrote a lot about it, more than anyone by far, broke stories at every turn, obtained records and, most importantly, obtained and published the infamous cell phone video.

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It is fair to say that without Albri Bayrakcari, a 38-year-old Albanian man who emigrated to the United States from Kosovo, there would not have been charges against Vaccaro, let alone a trial. Bayrakcari is the person who recorded the cell phone video and gave it to prosecutors. The trial was almost a frame-by-frame dialectic on the video between the prosecutors and the defense.

If you want to know a lot about what happened during the trial, my assistant and I took extensive notes covering every minute when court was on the record. We have the most comprehensive available account. It is the only full account you will ever read because the case is now sealed, and I am the only journalist who attended each day of the trial and published a detailed account of the entire trial.

I wrote about the case extensively on Talk of the Sound, so if you want to know about that, read the body of today’s story in block quotes below and/or click on the links for each day of the trial or the Fogg-Vaccaro Archive.

I would like to write about something else entirely; for that, skip past the block quote.

Thank you for reading Words in Edgewise. This post is public so feel free to share it.

Judge Matthew J. Costa found New Rochelle Police Detective Michael Vaccaro not guilty on both counts of Attempted Assault in the Third Degree at the end of a four day non-jury trial. The case is now sealed.

There is still a federal lawsuit brought by Malik Fogg against the City of New Rochelle, New Rochelle Police Department, Joseph Schaller, Michael Vaccaro, Matthew Velasco, Scott Wallach and Melvin Molina.

Vaccaro was charged with two counts of Attempted Assault in the Third Degree on June 17, 2021, both Misdemeanors, for an incident which occurred in the early afternoon of February 15, 2022. Vaccaro was arraigned on July 1, 2022. The first count was filed for punching Malik Fogg several times about the head. The second count was filed for forcing Malik Fogg’s head and face into a cement sidewalk.

A 16-year veteran of the New Rochelle Police Department, Vaccaro has one of the worst disciplinary records in the history of the New Rochelle Police Department. Vaccaro has been the subject of 17 Internal Affairs Investigations resulting in 9 Letters of Reprimand, the Loss of 15 Leave Days, a 10-Day Suspension, as well as an order to undergo retraining based on a Civilian Complaint in 2020. After the incident, Vaccaro was suspended without pay for 30 days. Ever since that suspension ended, he has been on paid administrative leave.

On October 25, 2021, Judge Costa denied Vaccaro’s Motion to Dismiss two counts of Attempted Assault in the Third Degree,

The case scheduled for a jury trial on January 24, 2022, but repeatedly delayed. Another Jury trial was scheduled for June 13, 2022. After a conference with Judge Costa on June 10, 2022, the upcoming jury trial was canceled, and a non-jury trial in front of the Judge, scheduled for July 19, 2022.

Malik Fogg was arrested by the NRPD near 635 Main Street on February 15, 2021, for Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree, Stalking in the Third Degree, Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree, Harassment in the Second Degree, and various New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law violations.

On June 9, 2022, Fogg pleaded guilty to one violation for disobeying a traffic control device — the lines on a road he crossed while driving — and driving a vehicle the wrong way on a one-way road with a one-year conditional discharge. Both traffic violations amounted to a $100 fine plus $88 surcharge Upon leaving the courtroom, Fogg paid the City of New Rochelle $376.

On May 14, 2022, Fogg filed a Civil Rights Lawsuit in White Plains Courthouse of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District against The City of New Rochelle, New Rochelle Police Department, Joseph Schaller, Michael Vaccaro, Matthew Velasco, Scott Wallach and Melvin Molina.

Day One: Trial of New Rochelle Police Detective Michael Vaccaro Begins

Day Two: Trial of New Rochelle Police Detective Michael Vaccaro Continues

Day Three: Trial of New Rochelle Police Detective Michael Vaccaro Goes to Defense

Day Four: Trial of New Rochelle Police Detective Michael Vaccaro Ends in Not Guilty Verdict

Michael Vaccaro – Malik Fogg Archive

Shameful Hypocrisy

What I want to write about is the shameful behavior of the so-called “black community” of New Rochelle, as well as the so-called black “leadership” and the various organizations that supposedly take up issues like police brutality against black people.

Just two years ago, 2020 was the year of BLM and widespread protests nationally against police brutality in the wake of the cases of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and locally in the case of the officer-involved shooting of Kamal Flowers by New Rochelle PO Alec McKenna.

Despite two years of heated rhetoric and loud complaints, the echoes of chants of “no justice, no peace” have faded. All the big talk in New Rochelle back then has amounted to nothing. “By any means necessary” has turned into “put me on an advisory board” or “hire my non-profit” or “approve my development deal”.

When New Rochelle had its very own officer-involved shooting, the so-called black “leadership” here was worse than silent, they were complicit in pumping out misinformation. They were told to get on a stage at City Hall, and they did. They were told to be quiet, so the Mayor could lie about the death of Kamal Flowers, and they dutifully closed their mouths. They stood by as the Police Commissioner fabricated an absurdist narrative which contradicted the police reports and radio dispatch audio of his police department, blamed a BLM rally three days earlier for putting the police on high alert, and praised the officers involved in the shooting for finding a car that was not lost.

To this day not a single person on that stage has demanded that the Mayor and the Commissioner provide a public mea culpa to own up to the many, falsehoods fed to the public through a passive media at that press conference on June 6, 2020.

Why then would it be a surprise to anyone that not a single person on the stage the day Kamal Flowers died would show up at a rare (never?) trial over police brutality in New Rochelle?

Not a single member of the New Rochelle African-American Advisory Committee, the New Rochelle Branch of the NAACP, the Community Police Partnership Board, the Inter-Religious Coalition of New Rochelle, nor anyone from the leadership of New Rochelle Black Churches, many of whom are members of the other organizations, bothered to attend a single minute of the four-day trial. None were on hand for the verdict.

I did not reach out to any of these people for comment on my stories. Why bother? They have already commented, by their actions, far more clearly than they ever could with words — while they may like to whine and moan about police brutality in the abstract when the cameras are on, they cannot be bothered to show up for even two minutes when an actual police brutality case is tried by the District Attorney in their City.

That’s the leadership.

No one else — the rank and file — from the black community showed up either.

BLM Summer

Over the summer of 2020, I covered a number of Black Lives Matter protest marches and rallies. I was frequently threatened both verbally and physically by organizers, participants and public speakers.

These people are what they call in Texas “all hat and no cattle” or what we call here in New York “full of shit”.

These attention-seekers devoted a few hours over a few sunny days in 2020 to shout and stomp and shake their fists at the sky. But when it actually mattered — confronting all the lies about the officer-involved shooting of Kamal Flowers spewed by Mayor Noam Bramson and Police Commissioner Joe Schaller, they were nowhere to be found. By the time Michael Vaccaro was whomping on the head of Malik Fogg on February 15, 2021, they had disappeared. So, it is no surprise that when a white New Rochelle Police officer is put on trial for police brutality against a black man — something they have claimed to want for years — not a single solitary one of them even popped their head in at the Vaccaro trial.

And now its open season.

In the video above, one of the many “sunshine patriots” of 2020 has about 3,000 people in front of her, but she decided it was better to start calling me out by name, screaming at me and doing what readers know I love best — telling me what I should write about on my “platform”. Neither she nor any other person in this video came to the Vaccaro trial.

The next time I am being screamed at and yelled at surrounded by some supposed “community activists” or “BLM protestors” or “black leaders” in New Rochelle for having the temerity to report on their rallies and marches, rest assured I will laugh in their face. I will ask them, “where were you when the DA prosecuted a New Rochelle Police Officer for excessive use of force?”


I have never seen a bigger bunch of phonies and cowards and sell-outs than the “leadership” of the black community in this City, people who are more interested in adorning their resumes with appointments to do-nothing committees or getting approvals for their development deals — or both.

These people can say what they want about the New Rochelle Police Department, but at least many members of the New Rochelle PBA showed up in court. Misguided as they may be in the support of Vaccaro, at least they took a position. The only position the “leadership” of the black community in New Rochelle has taken on police brutality since George Floyd and Kamal Flowers is sitting on their hands.

Now the trial is over and Michael Vaccaro got away with what any fool can see he did on the cell phone video — inciting an emotionally disturbed person then giving him a beating for his trouble. But those “leaders” can have nothing to say about it because they know nothing: they were not at the trial, they do not know what the witnesses said, what exhibits were presented, what rulings the judge made, what arguments the lawyers presented.

They know Michael Vaccaro was acquitted.

They have no idea why.

UPDATE: 7/22/2022 12:38 PM

Photo h/t TA

As expected, members of New Rochelle’s black leadership, flanked by black rank-and-file, finally showed up at the New Rochelle courthouse a day after the trial to express their views on a trial they know nothing about (except they do not like the verdict).

I see a woman in BLM t-shirt, some NAACP leadership, a Westchester County Legislator, a woman in an NAACP t-shirt, some African-American Advisory Council leadership. Full disclosure, I know many of these people but I call ‘em like I see ‘em and they screwed the pooch on this one.

Photo h/t TA

I was pointedly not invited to this event even though no one has done more to report out on Alec McKenna and Michael Vaccaro than me and, obviously the Vaccaro trial.

I am imagine they would not want me there asking my questions. Where were these people yesterday for the Summations? Or the Opening Arguments on Monday? Or the Verdict? Or any of the witnesses? Or the expert witness? How much of the evidence did they see or hear? All of those people combined spent a total of zero minutes at the four-day trial but they imagine they have something to say now? Too late.

Here is the CBS2 package on this event.

NAACP New Rochelle protests acquittal of cop charged with attempted assault in 2021 incident caught on video

Here is the News12 package on this event.

New Rochelle NAACP calls on city leaders to fire police officer after acquittal on brutality-related charges

Think about that instructive headline: “fire” Vaccaro “after acquittal” on “brutality-related charges”.

Vaccaro won.

There was no “brutality”. There are no “charges”. The record is sealed. So what would Vaccaro be fired for?


Why Michael Vaccaro Will Not Be Fired for Punching Malik Fogg in the Head

Obviously, I am no fan of Michael Vaccaro but as the only person in New Rochelle who attended every court appearance by Michael Vaccaro and attended every day of the trial and watched Andrew Quinn masterfully slice and dice every element of the District Attorney’s case against Vaccaro including a frame-by-frame dissection of the cell phone video AND has sat in on New Rochelle Police Department termination hearings AND has listened to audio recordings of NRPD Internal Affairs interviews of officers facing disciplinary charges AND read through hundreds of Internal Affairs complaints going back decades, I see no reason whatsoever to believe that Michael Vaccaro will ever be terminated by the New Rochelle Police Department for the Malik Fogg incident.


Vaccaro may choose to take a job elsewhere or retire someday or, more likely given his 17 sustained disciplinary charges and history of juvenile behavior, have some new command discipline that ends his career in New Rochelle, but the idea that Michael Vaccaro could ever be forced out of NRPD against his wishes through an adversarial termination hearing process based on a complaint brought on his actions in a case where he was totally vindicated in a court of law, where Andrew Quinn would be at the table once again, where the same witnesses would testify?


The City of New Rochelle and the New Rochelle Police Department and Senior Command and other officers are all being sued by Malik Fogg in U.S. District Court in White Plains. Any adversarial hearing like a termination hearing where there is sworn testimony, transcripts, and exhibits including paper documents, photos, video and audio including audio of Internal Affairs interviews of officers charges by Internal Affairs would be sought by Fogg’s attorney. Why would the City or NRPD want that?

No Way.

Any allegations made by NRPD against Vaccaro as the basis for a termination hearing would be flipped back on the department by Fogg.

The City of New Rochelle and the New Rochelle Police Department would certainly take the position that they cannot start a termination hearing until the Fogg case in federal court is complete, which could take years. That could be well past the time Vaccaro is eligible to retire with a fully-vested pension.

Westchester DA Anthony Scarpino telling NRPD Police Commissioner Joe Schaller he better hide so leadership of New Rochelle’s black community do not see him before Kamal Flowers presser on June 6, 2020

They took this delay tactic approach with PO Alec McKenna who shot and killed Kamal Flowers which the NRPD and the DA, under Anthony Scarpino, determined was a clean shoot. McKenna has long since been returned to active duty and he killed a guy.

If McKenna was not fired over the Flowers shooting why would anyone expect Vaccaro be fired for a couple of punches and pushing Fogg’s head down?


UPDATE 7/29/22: one week after his acquittal on charges related to police brutality, Michael Vaccaro remains on administrative paid leave and the disciplinary proceedings are underway.

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