A Trial Begins… An Image Problem Persists

To say that the Sleepy Hollow Police Department has an image problem would be regarded as a palpable truth. To say that certain of its members past and present have acted in ways that bring discredit to those in “blue” is equally truthful. Rising above local law enforcement and looking at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its handling of a case against Sleepy Hollow Detective Jose Quinoy, the truth reflects that Catherine Pena an FBI agent (who has been removed as lead agent), gave conflicting testimony about evidence she had gathered that was either tampered with, destroyed, or plain discarded.
The trial of Sleepy Hollow Detective Jose Quinoy is underway with jury selection that commenced on Wednesday, June 16 and the actual courtroom proceedings slated for Tuesday, June 22. Quinoy faces three charges, two of which this publication previously wrote about in the Fall issue of 2009. (Go to RiverJournalOnline.com and click on Sleepy Hollow.)

On October 17, and December 17 of 2006  the US Attorney’s Office indictments claim that Quinoy “while acting under color of law did assault an individual who had been handcuffed and restrained by a police officer resulting in bodily injury to Victim 1…” Although not mentioned by name, that victim on October 17 was Mario Gomez, and Mr. Gomez has stated, “I was handcuffed with my arms behind me and thrown into the backseat of a cop car. That’s when Quinoy came over and kicked me in the head behind the ear.”

The third and latest indictment against Quinoy occurred on March 25 of this year. He was charged with witness tampering. “The new count charges that on or about April 4, 2008, Quinoy attempted to corruptly persuade a witness to testify falsely regarding one of the incidents alleged in the original indictment.” Although not mentioned by name, that witness was Sleepy Hollow Detective Michael Hayes, who wore a “wire” for the FBI which recorded the conversation with Quinoy. Last month while testifying in the U.S. District Court in White Plains, Michael Hayes reportedly admitted to filing a false police report about the incident concerning Quinoy’s alleged attack on Gomez in October 2006. Hayes had tasered Gomez multiple times during that beating which hospitalized Gomez.

If Jose Quinoy is found guilty of the two original indictments of assaulting and causing bodily harm to two persons, one of whom is Mario Gomez, he faces a maximum of twenty years in prison and a fine of $500,000. If Quinoy is found guilty of witness tampering, the third indictment, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for that offense and a fine as well.

After nearly four years a jury will decide what is true in the case against Sleepy Hollow Detective Jose Quinoy. Should he be acquitted of all charges there is one other  consideration. Jose Quinoy had taken the test for Police Chief and scored the highest in the Department. That truth was corroborated by two individuals in government. Once again, to say that the Sleepy Hollow Police Department has an image problem is indeed a palpable truth.

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About the Author: Robert Bonvento