Utica police officer suspended without pay for ‘unauthorized physical force’ from incident on Friday


UTICA, N.Y. (WROC) — A Utica police officer was suspended without pay after review of body worn footage showed him engaging in “unauthorized physical force” from an incident last week.

On Friday, September 4, Officer Matthew Felitto responded to a call involved a domestic incident on Spring Street in Utica in which one man, Kerwin Taylor, threatened a female with a firearm.

According to the City of Utica, body worn footage from several officers involved shows Taylor fleeing the scene and resisting arrest. During the arrest, footage shows Felitto kicking Taylor in the head. The footage also shows another officer intervening and yelling for Felitto to stop, which ended the inappropriate conduct.

Taylor was treated at the hospital for neck pain and released into police custody where he was charged with multiple firearm related felonies.

“Subsequent body worn footage shows an officer, Matthew Felitto, engaging in unauthorized physical force which UPD does not tolerate nor condone,” A Statement from the city reads.

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“At this time, the City of Utica has probable cause to believe Officer Felitto was not advancing the interests of the Department and City. Body worn footage also shows another Officer intervening and yelling “stop” twice ending the inappropriate conduct. The incident is under internal administrative investigation and has been referred to the Oneida County District Attorney’s office for possible criminal charges.”

Based on the footage, Felitto was suspended without pay. Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri and Utica Police Chief Mark Williams announced during a press conference they are seeking termination and possible legal action against Officer Felitto. The incident is currently under an internal administrative investigation and has been referred to the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office for possible criminal charges against the officer.

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Less than a week later, the City of Utica took action against the officer involved — juxtaposed with the City of Rochester’s handling of the death of Daniel Prude, who died as as result of a police encounter in March.

The officers involved with the Prude incident weren’t suspended until last week when details of Prude death first became public, and they are suspended with pay.

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