Police Sergeant Pleads Guilty to Disconnecting Camera and Beating Handcuffed Man

Originally published on September 29, 2014, at NationofChange.org

After 18 years on the force, a New York police sergeant has resigned and pleaded guilty to deprivation of rights under color of law for beating a handcuffed man inside the Fulton police station. After pulling the video camera out of the wall, Sgt. Joseph Arigo beat the handcuffed man then lied to his supervisors and filed two false reports to cover up his actions. Arigo had originally been charged with third-degree assault, making a punishable false written statement, and falsifying business records.

Gary Bloss was arrested the night of June 28 on a parole warrant. Taken to the Fulton police station, Bloss sat on a bench in the booking room with his hands cuffed behind his back yelling at the cops. Although Bloss did not threaten any of the officers or himself, Sgt. Arigo disconnected the video camera before entering the room. Bloss recalled arguing with Arigo when the 18-year veteran began choking the handcuffed man and punching him repeatedly in the face.

Arigo slammed Bloss’ head into the bench and continued punching him in the face. As Arigo started choking Bloss again, Officer Sean Hanks quietly fled from the booking room.

“While Gary was arguing with me, Sgt. Arigo walked into the booking room,” admitted Officer Hanks in his deposition. “Sgt. Arigo pushed Gary down onto the bench and began punching him.”

“Sgt. Arigo was yelling at Gary that he told him not to disrespect him in his house,” Hanks recalled. “Sgt. Arigo hit him several times, and I left the booking room.”

“The whole thing caught me off guard,” said Hanks. “Sgt. Arigo is the sergeant, and I didn’t want to attempt to step in, not knowing how he would have reacted.”

As Hanks reached the dispatch desk, he noticed the surveillance cameras had been disconnected. Hanks returned to the booking room to find Arigo digging through a first aid kit while Bloss began bleeding onto the floor. After Arigo cleaned the blood off the floor, Bloss was placed in a holding cell.

After losing consciousness, Bloss was eventually transported to Oswego Hospital and treated for head injuries. Suffering from extensive bruising and swelling, Bloss also sustained a laceration above his right eye that required seven stitches. After lying to his supervisors, Arigo provided false statements in two separate incident reports in an attempt to cover up his crimes.

“The next day Sgt. Arigo addressed the crew and stated that he should not have done what he did and set a bad example,” said Hanks.

Since the incident, Arigo was placed on paid administrative leave until he finally resigned on August 22. Arigo’s sentencing is scheduled for January 23, and he faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.

In a sworn deposition to Fulton police inspectors, Bloss declared his intention to sue the Fulton Police Department. Bloss added, “I want Sgt. Arigo prosecuted to the fullest extent. I want Sgt. Arigo arrested and charged.”

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