A judge from New York state’s Supreme Court has been caught on camera shoving a police officer and allegedly trying to use his powerful connections to stop his wife being arrested.
Officers were called out to Justice Mark Grisanti’s Buffalo home on June 23 following reports of a dispute between himself, his wife and their neighbors, named as Joseph, 65, and Gina Mele, 53, over a parking space. No charges were filed following the incident on June 23.
Bodycam footage, released by Buffalo Police Department after an FOI request by WKBW, captured the moment officers arrived to find a shirtless Grisanti, a former state senator, and his agitated wife Maria.
Video shows him appearing to push one of the officers while mentioning his friendship with the local mayor, seemingly in an attempt to persuade the cops to let them go.
New York Supreme Court Justice Mark Grisanti got into an altercation with Buffalo police officers outside his home this summer following a dispute with neighbors
‘Maam, if you don’t stop yelling, this is going to be a problem for you’: Maria Grisanti was warned by police to stop shouting before an officer attempted to handcuff her
Officers were called out to the Grisanti’s Buffalo home on June 23. The couple is pictured
The judge explains he is ‘good friends’ with Mayor Byron Brown and that his son-in-law and daughter are both on the force, the video published by WKBW showed.
Grisanti’s wife can be heard shouting in the beginning of the footage and is told by an officer: ‘Maam, if you don’t stop yelling, this is going to be a problem for you.’
Officers were called out to Justice Mark Grisanti’s (pictured) Buffalo, New York, home on June 23
‘I don’t care,’ the woman responds, after which the officer moves to arrest her.
A scuffle ensues amid an exchange of foul language as the officer attempts to place handcuffs on Maria Grisanti.
Justice Grisanti becomes involved when his wife is brought to the ground, telling the officer attempting to arrest her: ‘You better get your hands off my f***ing wife.’
Another officer – named as Richard Hy – intervenes, telling Grisanti, who has began listing his connections: ‘You are not going to fight a cop.’
‘If you don’t get the cuffs off her right now, you’re going to have a problem,’ the judge says.
He attempts to defuse the increasingly tense situation and calm Justice Grisanti.
The judge then apparently makes a phone call to his police officer daughter.
Grisanti later offers what he calls ‘constructive criticism’, telling the police officer that he used unnecessary force when handcuffing his wife.
The police officer reminds Grisanti that he has a body camera, to which the judge responds: ‘I don’t care about your camera.’
A scuffle ensued as an officer attempted to handcuff Maria Grisanti, who was brought to the ground during the incident
Mark Grisanti (above shirtless) attempted to intervene when he saw an officer handcuffing his wife but was held back by another policeman
In a tense exchange, Grisanti shoved one of the police officers and told them to ‘get your hands off my f***king wife’. The couple is pictured
At that point, Hy criticized the judge for his name dropping and put the judge in handcuffs.
‘Let me give you some constructive criticism. You want to drop another copper’s name? You scream about how you… know the mayor? Why don’t you shut the f**k up!?’ the officer says.
‘You want to say, ‘I know all these coppers, I know all these things?’ You want to make us look dirty? Is that what you want to do?’ he adds.
Hy begins shouting at Grisanti, calling him an ‘old geezer,’ before asking Grisanti how it must look to his neighbors when he name drops and expects special treatment.
The judge then begins apologizing.
Later in the footage, Justice Grisanti is seen in the back of a police car talking to a detective on speakerphone who he appears to know.
It was later confirmed that the detective on the call was Mark Constantio, Grisanti’s first cousin.
Later in the footage, captured on police body cameras, Grisanti (left) apologizes after being berated by an officer (right)
Justice Grisanti is seen in the back of a police car talking to a detective on speakerphone who he appears to know. It was later confirmed that the detective on the call was Detective Mark Constantino, Grisanti’s first cousin
Local media reported Wednesday that Grisanti was facing an investigation by the New York State Committee on Judicial Conduct, which has the power to remove or sanction judges.
Justice Grisanti is yet to comment on the incident but attorney Leonard D. Zaccagnino, who is representing Grisanti, said his client was ‘not happy about it’ and felt that his actions were being taken out of context.
‘Certainly he wishes the incident never occurred,’ the lawyer said, adding that Grisanti had been trying to defend his wife.
‘He got angry, and he raised his voice, he put his hand up, and he did make contact with the officer
‘He feels bad about it. OK, he feels bad about the whole incident.’
Grisanti’s lawyer said his client wished the incident had never happened but felt that his actions were being taken out of context
Several weeks after the confrontation, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn’s office said that, after a review of the footage, no one involved would be charged over the incident.
Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo told WKBW that the officers’ decided not to charge Grisanti because he ‘didn’t tackle anyone, he didn’t punch him – he gave him, like, a shoulder shove.’
When asked why Grisanti was allowed a private call with Detective Constantino, Rinaldo said it appeared Constantino ‘reached out to the lieutenant on the scene and she allowed him to speak with Mr Grisanti.’
Mayor Brown, who Grisanti mentioned during the altercation with police in the summer, issued a statement through a spokesman, saying he would not get involved.
‘It has been, and remains, my policy as Mayor not to interfere in any police investigation,’ Brown said.
This is the second time an incident involving Grisanti and his wife has hit the news. WKBW reported that in 2012 the judge was injured in a scuffle at the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls while he was a state senator
‘I have not spoken to the Buffalo Police Department, District Attorney Flynn, or Judge Grisanti regarding this matter.
‘I believe that the District Attorney’s office is in the best position to determine the appropriate course of action.’
A spokesman for Mayor Byron W. Brown issued a statement to the station saying he wouldn’t get involved.
This is the second time an incident involving Grisanti and his wife has hit the news.
WKBW reported that in 2012 the judge was injured in a scuffle at the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls while he was a state senator.
He said he and his wife had been attacked and beaten in a confrontation with members of the Seneca Nation of Indians.
Grisanti was appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to the Court of Claims in 2015.
Prior to that, he had been a Republican State Senator before losing his seat in 2014 after losing to attorney Kevin Stocker in the party’s primary.