Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Review Finds Insufficient Evidence in N.Y. Doctor's Beating Allegation

Associated Press

Albuquerque's independent police review officer found insufficient evidence to back up allegations by a New York heart surgeon who accused police of roughing him up and jailing him in a confrontation with officers.
Surgeon Vincent Moss has appealed the findings, and a hearing is slated before the Police Oversight Commission on Dec. 8.
The hearing comes about a month before Moss is to appear in metropolitan court for a hearing on criminal charges filed against him in the July 17 incident.
Moss, 34, was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and refusing to obey an officer.
His attorney, Daniel Ivey-Soto of Albuquerque, was out of town and could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for Moss said he would not comment until the criminal case ends.
Jay Rowland, review officer for the oversight commission, said the investigation into the incident in a downtown bar did not find enough evidence to recommend sanctions against the arresting officer or any other officer.
"Your complaint has been thoroughly and impartially investigated,'' Rowland wrote Moss in an Oct. 14 letter obtained this week by The Albuquerque Tribune. "There are not sufficient facts to make findings by a preponderance of the evidence on all of the allegations.''
The investigation is based on interviews with eight officers, employees of the bar, videotapes from the tavern and newspaper articles, the letter said.
Moss, who was in New Mexico last summer on a sabbatical to work at a Gallup hospital, alleged he was treated badly at the bar because he is black and that police dislocated his shoulder. He complained to Police Chief Ray Schultz, who forwarded the complaint to Rowland's office July 20.
Rowland said that because of the pending criminal case, Moss did not cooperate with the investigation or present his own witnesses.
"We don't have their side of the story,'' Rowland said.
According to his letter to Moss, the doctor yelled profanities, acted aggressively, spit on the ground, had to be bodily pulled from the bar and appeared to be high.
"A preponderance of the evidence convinces me that the officer had a reasonable basis to defend himself and arrest you,'' Rowland wrote. "Your conduct would lead a reasonable person to be concerned that you might become violent.''
Rowland's letter was released because once an appeal is filed, such a letter becomes public and its recipient is identified.
The criminal complaint against Moss identifies the arresting officer as Allen Hancock. Hancock has been the subject of at least four federal lawsuits accusing him of excessive force.

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