Noise-Hating Cops Beat Copwatching Student, Receive FBI Civil Rights Investigation
Max Chantha | December 19, 2015
WASHINGTON – As any college student can attest to, their most frequent interactions with the police are at parties, where raucous behavior, underage drinking, or loud music are likely to draw the ire of local law enforcement.
David Pontecarvo, a student at the University of Washington, was familiar with these interactions, and began to film officers arresting a friend for a noise violation.
What would begin as an exercise of his first amendment rights would end in broken facial bones and a weekend in jail.
Pontecarvo was about to begin studying at UW in 2012 when his physical integrity and Constitutional rights were grossly violated.
He began filming Seattle officers when they responded to a noise complaint at his house party with excessive force.
Though the music had been turned down prior to the police’s arrival, just as they were leaving one of the partygoers raise the volume – resulting in his subsequent arrest, which Pontecorvo and others allege was overly forceful.
At this point Pontecorvo began filming the officers, and his weekend descended into a nightmare of vengeful police brutality.
Pontecorvo was first told that he was not allowed to film the officers – a blatant lie – and when he refused to do so, was manhandled outside of his own residence and told he was under arrest for obstructing a police officer.
The student protested verbally and questioned the officers on the necessity of their overly physical methods.
It was at this point that officers Michael Renner and Joseph Maccarrone stepped in.
These two officers had previously been sued by another man, Eric Garcia-Arcos, who had been brutalized in a nearly identical fashion; Garcia-Arcos had received broken bones and an unlawful arrest after the two noise-hating cops had responded to a noise complaint.
True to their historic form, the two officers and several others began beating Pontecorvo in front of his own house, using not only their hands but their service flashlights as well.
Soon after he was arrested and made to spend the weekend in jail, despite never receiving any charges.
The battered student also had to visit the emergency room to treat his grievous injuries.
The city of Seattle – and thus its taxpayers – shelled out $85,000 for the beating of Garcia-Arcos, and an additional $100,000 for the beating of Pontecorvo.
While it is inarguable that these victims deserve reparations for their unlawful treatment at the hands of law enforcement, it is ridiculous that two officers have incurred nearly $200,000 in taxpayer-funded settlement costs yet retain their positions.
The only glimmer of hope in this grim case of outright assault on innocent Americans is the opening of an FBI case against the Seattle police department.
It is likely that federal investigators will find ample evidence of abuse under the color of law, considering two officers alone have incurred nearly a quarter million dollars in settlement costs.
If the Seattle police department has any interest in either public relations or public safety, they will not only fire but criminally charge Renner and Maccarrone, as well as any other officers who commit such flagrant acts of unwarranted violence.
Max Chantha is a writer and investigative journalist interested in covering incidences of government injustice, at home and abroad. He is a current university student studying Global Studies and Professional Writing. Check out Max Chantha: An Independent Blog for more of his work.