NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- In a wide-ranging interview last week, Mauro Zonzini categorically denied the account of events contained in Rye PD and Westchester County records.
Zonzini is a long-time New Rochelle-based contractor with clients including the City of New Rochelle, the New Rochelle Board of Education and the City of Mount Vernon.
For Zonzini, up until recently the Vice President of the New Rochelle Police Advisory Board and a Director of the New Rochelle Police Foundation, the entire matter was an ordeal he would like to forget.
"They turned everything so out of context," said Zonzini. "It was surreal. What would I be doing, driving around, looking for two black guys, with guns?"
Zonzini provided Talk of the Sound a detailed account of the events of September 4-5, 2008.
He says the evening began with dinner after work at the Nautilus Diner at around 8 p.m. He had dinner with New Rochelle Police Commissioner Patrick Carroll
Shortly after leaving the diner he was back at his home at 325 Hornidge Road in Mamaroneck, NY.
When Rye police officers approached him and demanded he produce identification he was minding his own business, working on his motorcycle in his driveway.
Zonzini says he produced identification including a New York State drivers license listing his address as 466 North Avenue in New Rochelle, NY and a Westchester County Pistol Permit License listing his address as 12 Glen Place in New Rochelle, NY.
Zonzini says he tried to explain to the police officers that he was in front of his own home at 325 Hornidge Road. He says they refused to knock on the door of his home to speak with his wife and confirm that he lived at that address.
Zonzini says when he produced a City of New Rochelle ID Card and Police Foundation shield, a Rye Police Officer accused him of impersonating a police officer, a claim Zonzini denied.
Zonzini say he was questioned about the Shield.
"Why do you have that? Why are you walking around with that?" Zonzini says he was asked before Rye police confiscated the ID Card and Shield and told him that he was being placed under arrest. He was told to place his hands on a police car.
After he placed his hands on the car, but before he was frisked, Zonzini says he told police that he was carrying two loaded weapons, at which point, Zonzini says, he was roughly pushed to the ground and pinned there by a knee placed on his back, as the officer retrieved the two weapons.
"They slammed me to ground like I was a piece of shit, like a rag doll," said Zonzini.
He says he was handcuffed, placed in the back of a Rye police car, and driven at high speed so that he banged his head repeatedly against the cage in the police car. Zonzini says he feared for his life.
At the Rye Police Station Zonzini says he was placed in a jail cell and subsequently denied food, medical attention, access to medication and access to his attorney.
Zonzini said that but for carrying the ID Card and Shield, along with the inconsistent addresses listed on his Drivers License and Pistol Permit License, he might not have been arrested.
Zonzini says he no longer has the ID Card and Shield because he resigned as a Director of the New Rochelle Police Foundation two weeks ago because he is retiring and moving to South Carolina.
For Zonzini, born and raised in New Rochelle, the decision to pull up stakes and leave the area caught many who know him by surprise. As recently as March, Zonzini had run for the position of Secretary of the New Rochelle Police Foundation, losing out to Domenic Procopio. In April, he bid on an emergency services contract for the New Rochelle Board of Education. That bid was approved and adopted by the New Rochelle Board of Education in May.
Zonzini says he recently sold all of this properties in the area including a house in Mamaroneck, a vacation home in Pennsylvania and a commercial building at 466 North Avenue where his business office has been located for many years. Zonzini also sold his contracting business to his employees, sources say.
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