A Rochester police officer is under scrutiny for breaking department rules, after appearing to advise a man to break into his ex-girlfriend’s home, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
On November 13th, the man in question contacted the police as he wished to get his belongings from Catherine Bonner‘s home, but she had already changed the locks and refused to permit him entry.
Officer Corey McNees said, while in uniform, “If you can break a window glass, it’s cheaper to repair. You can gain entry any way you want; you won’t be held accountable.” This statement was recorded via body camera, and was repeated several times. There was even the suggestion of using a brick to break the window, but the ex-boyfriend resisted, saying “I don’t want to break into the house. I’m not that type of person.”
He suggested going to small claims court instead, but the officer repeatedly encouraged him to break in. Rochester police chief Michael Ciminelli noted that this is not police protocol. Judge Charles Schiano Jr. ruled the officer’s advice was not legally sufficient, writing in his decision, “As far as this court can determine (it is) without actual basis in law.”
After 23 minutes, the ex-boyfriend caved and used a shoe to break in through a window. Bonner responded with a 9mm rifle, which triggered what the determined was an illegal search. For that reason, he said, the rifle could not be used as evidence against Bonner in a trial.
She remains charged with weapons possession and menacing a police officer.
According to her attorney David Pilato, Bonner was “scared.”
“Who’s she going to call if the police are telling someone to break in?” he asked. “It’s not like she can call 911 and get the police there – they’re already there.”
The case will return to a courtroom on June 4th.
[Image via YouTube/screengrab]