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The Curious Cases of the McKnight Kids: New Rochelle Police Punt on McKnight II, Tosses Case to DA

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The Curious Cases of the McKnight Kids: New Rochelle Police Punt on McKnight II, Tosses Case to DA

July 28, 2009 - 15:53

Demetrius Hazelton.jpgThe New Rochelle Police Department has repeatedly deviated from standard operating procedure in the handling of a weekend incident involving the "daughter" of a New Rochelle Police Detective whose "son" recently filed a lawsuit against the New Rochelle Police Department based on a claim that NRPD violated his civil rights in arresting him for disorderly conduct. After an internal review, NRPD has taken the highly unusual step of referring the entire matter to the District Attorney's office. A decision on whether to file charges in the matter is expected as soon as today.

As we reported on Sunday, a young man was arrested at gunpoint on the Hutchinson River Parkway after the mother of his child told police the young man had menaced her, threatening to produce a gun. After the arrest the young woman recanted her story, sources day. At that point NRPD officers considered filing charges against the young woman for filing a false police report. Typically, the desk sergeant would decide whether or not to make an arrest but in an usual move the sergeant on duty Sunday night instead called a police captain who instructed the sergeant to hold off on filing any charges pending review. After the review a decision was made to hand the case over to the District Attorney's office to make a decision on whether to file charges.

Within the department this "review" has widely been seen by the rank and file as an attempt to tread carefully in light of the NAACP lawsuit against NRPD in the Demetrius Hazelton case and, to a certain extent, consistent with past efforts to accommodate the children of Detective Timothy McKnight's significant other.

Sergeant Reynolds, the desk sergeant on duty Sunday night who decided not to go ahead with the charges for filing a false police report, is African-American and has a law degree. Sources within NRPD cautioned Talk of the Sound from drawing any particular conclusions from either of those two facts. Reynolds decision to proceed cautiously, while unusual, may well have been the most prudent course of action considering the context of the pending litigation, sources say.

Complicating matters for NRPD is a past history of previous "courtesies" having been extended to Detective McKnight. Sources tell Talk of the Sound that it was after another incident about a month prior to the disorderly conduct arrest of Demetrius Hazelton in April when McKnight, apparently frustrated at having to yet again deal with a problem child, notified NRPD officers on an informal basis not to hesitate to process any complaints against Hazelton on his account because Hazelton was not his son and he was not able to control him.

In both cases -- the disorderly conduct charge against Hazelton and the alleged filing a false police report case involving his sister -- the siblings dropped McKnight's name to responding officers.

So far, NRPD has not been forthcoming about the incident. When asked for a copy of the paperwork related to the incident on Monday, NRPD initially claimed to have no knowledge of the incident. As usual, Talk of the Sound had contacted Captain Kevin Kealy, the public records officer for the New Rochelle Police Department, seeking any public records that might available from the Sunday incident -- incident reports, arrest reports, mug shots, etc. Talk of the Sound has also continued to ask for paperwork in the Demetrius Hazelton arrest for disorderly conduct but has, so far, been denied.

In an email, Kealy said he had "no knowledge of what you are referring to" regarding an incident on Sunday. After additional details were provide to him, Kealy responded as follows:

1) the NRPD arrest log does not indicate that anyone was arrested for menacing yesterday.

2) I have not had the opportunity to review the report concerning the
menacing incident. After the report is reviewed, I will reply as to what
can be released.

3) In regard to the Hazelton case, no report will be released until the
case reaches its final adjudication.

What makes all of this particularly curious is that the incident that is the subject of our inquiries involves a police chase outside of New Rochelle where officers drew their weapons and made an arrest of a young man at gun point on a very busy highway, a case where NRPD did not follow standard operational procedure at many points along the way and for which they are now deferring a decision on the matter outside the NRPD.

Suffice to say this is not the sort of thing that happens very often -- if ever.

UPDATE: We are getting word that a possible basis for not filing charges may be attributed to the recent pregnancy of the young woman.