New video from brawl at Kokopellis

Posted at: 02/11/2014 8:56 PM
Updated at: 02/12/2014 9:32 AM
By: Steve Flamisch

TROY – Responding to allegations of brutality and racism, city police released new details Tuesday about the January 25 altercation between officers and patrons at Kokopellis Night Club on Fourth Street.

New video from a mast camera atop the department’s mobile command unit shows several scuffles erupting on the street outside Kokopellis before officers first entered the club at about 3:00 a.m.

Police officials then showed the oft-seen surveillance video of an officer – now identified as Sgt. Matthew Montanino – repeatedly striking club patron Roshawon Donley with a baton, even after Donley is on the ground.

Upon close inspection, the video shows Donley taking a swing at Montanino, police said. That swing, coupled with Donley’s alleged refusal to comply with police directives, justified the use of force by several officers, police said.

"I can only tell you this – and I think I can make it pretty clear to you – if this were to happen again, I would want them to conduct themselves the same way they did on the 24th and 25th," Police Commissioner Anthony Magnetto told a NewsChannel 13 reporter.

Mayor Lou Rosamilia, whom African-American leaders have criticized for defending the officers before the investigation was complete, stood by opinion. He explained that his view was based on intelligence meetings, the officers’ reports, and now the video.

Eight police officers suffered minor injuries in the brawl; six of them sought treatment at Samaritan Hospital. Police arrested eight people, including Donley. A ninth arrest is expected soon. Troy Police Captain John Cooney described the investigation as "fluid."

Barry and Joseph Glick, the club’s co-owners, have said the police – not the patrons – incited the melee. The Glicks allege that another officer who responded to the club that night, Sgt. Sam Corello, vowed to shut down their establishment.

"Police continue (their) harassment activities against Kokopellis in an effort to make good on Sergeant Corello’s threatening statement to its owners Saturday morning, January 25, 2014: 'I’m going to shut you the f--- down,'" the Glicks said in a statement.

Police recently arrested a Kokopellis bartender, Angela Rollins, for allegedly selling alcohol to an underage patron on the night of the brawl. The Glicks contend the minor was "an underage confidential informant" placed in the bar by the police: a claim the department denied.

"Kokopellis has additional surveillance tapes showing continued police brutality against patrons even after the establishment was cleared and the initial assaults on patrons were over, resulting in their arrests," the Glicks said in their statement.

The city council’s public safety committee is meeting Wednesday night to further discuss the situation. Magnetto said he will not be in attendance because the first meeting, in his view, was not well controlled. He held the press conference instead.