Jan 21, 2014
KANSAS CITY, MO – A former police officer is out of a job after admitting to assault. Dashcam video shows the officer repeatedly hitting a restrained suspect.
The former officer is already behind bars for the attack that happened the afternoon of Oct. 5.
The dashcam video captured the moment when police and prosecutors said a Kansas City Police Department officer crossed the line. Former Officer Carl Counti, 39, is seen restraining Alfredo Guerrero-Ponce, a suspect in a carjacking.
According to court records filed, a KCPD sergeant spotted a vehicle matching the descriptions of a car taken a few minutes earlier in an armed carjacking. The sergeant attempted to take Ponce into custody, but Ponce resisted and struggled with the sergeant.
The video shows Ponce resist arrest and court documents said he hit the sergeant and Counti, chipping the former officer’s tooth, before they managed to get him in handcuffs.
“Now this is where this story should end, but it did not. After the suspect is placed in handcuffs, after he’s restrained, former KCPD Officer Counti repeatedly struck him in the face about a dozen times,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.
Friday morning Counti pleaded guilty to third-degree assault. He’ll serve 30 days of “shock time” in jail, two year’s probation, complete 100 hours of community service and must participate in anger management classes.
Friday morning Counti also signed away his law enforcement license and can never be a cop again.
“I will in no way demonize Officer Counti, what he did was wrong, he accepted responsibility for that,” said Police Chief Darryl Forte.
Counti did not comment at court, but his attorneys, J.R. Hobbs and Dan Haus, released the following statement on behalf of their client:
“Mr. Counti has had a 15-year career of extraordinary service, including receiving the department’s highest award, the medal of valor. Having said that, he is satisfied that this particular matter has been resolved by agreement between the parties, and does not believe any further comment is appropriate at this time.”
A Kansas City police supervisor reported the incident after he did a routine review of a dash cam video in the case.
“It was discovered on their own. They acted as they should, they investigated as they should, and they contacted me to present this case,” Baker said.
She said police have an undeniably dangerous job, but that doesn’t excuse what happened on the October day.
“If you ever lose faith in us, in the police, or in prosecutors to do the right thing, and to do the right thing every time, then we have lost our ability to administer justice,” Baker said.
“This is not a reflection of our entire police department, it’s a reflection by one person that lost control under one circumstance,” Forte said.
Forte said that they will continue an internal review of the incident now and see if any other officers violated department policy, but this is it for the criminal investigation.
The court records also showed Counti’s Taser didn’t work right and Forte said that information will go into the next phase of review.
Ponce is still being held at the Jackson County jail on the carjacking charges.
Counti has earned awards while with the department. He was involved in an incident in 2004 when he and another officer saved a paramedic who had been shot. Counti was awarded the medal of valor.
“My fear was we’d end up with two people shot instead of one, but we had to do it, we had to get her out of there or she wouldn’t have a chance at all,” Counti said at the time.