CRIME

Cop Says He Tried To Console 14-Year-Old. Video Shows Him Saying, 'I'll Break Your F---ing Neck'

A Dallas police officer said he put his arm around a 14-year-old boy in an effort to comfort him as he was crying.

But video of the interaction between Officer Terigi Rossi and the teen appears to tell a different story.

The video was taken by the teen on Oct. 1, 2014, and obtained by the Dallas-area station WFAA through an open records request.

Rossi and his partner, Senior Cpl. Stacy Ward, were called to a Dallas apartment to investigate a 911 hang-up call. When they arrived, a woman at the residence, later determined to be the teen's stepmother, initially said she hadn't called 911, according to a police report obtained by WFAA. The woman then said she'd called because her car was being towed. She said she hung up because she thought the call was over.

But Rossi suspected there was more going on than the woman or the teen was telling him.

As the 14-year-old continued to deny that anything went wrong, the conversation between Rossi and the boy turned heated, with Rossi repeatedly using profanity.

At one point, Rossi leans toward the teen and says: "If I were you, son, I'd shut the fuck up, cause I'll break your fucking neck. You understand me?"

Rossi tells the teen that he's under arrest. Then, as the teen moves away from him, Rossi tells him: "You're just like your mother. You're a piece of fucking shit."

Rossi's apparent threat and expletive-laced insults toward the teen were not mentioned in Rossi's police report, according to WFAA. They only came to light after authorities obtained video footage of the altercation.

Rossi was suspended for three days and is now back patrolling the streets.

Dallas Fraternal Order of Police President Richard Todd told The Huffington Post that Rossi has paid the price for his behavior and that the matter is done with. He noted that, in addition to the three-day unpaid suspension, Rossi was also restricted to desk duty for three months.

"He realized that he made a mistake. He was punished for it and the issue should be closed," Todd said. "It’s not like he got off scot-free. He messed up, he was disciplined."

The incident provides another example of video evidence apparently contradicting an officer's version of events.

Perhaps the most notorious case of this in recent memory happened in April, when footage showed Michael Slager, a police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina, shooting and killing 50-year-old Walter Scott as he fled.

Slager initially claimed, and early media reports repeated, that he fired at Scott because Scott had tried to grab the officer's Taser. The video, however, cast doubt on that claim. Slager has since been charged with murder.

In the wake of Scott's killing, Frank Serpico, a former New York City police detective, whistleblower and inspiration for the 1973 Sidney Lumet film, wrote in Politico that Slager's version of events is an example of cops "testi-lying." Serpico said the practice is all too common.

"Now, in the era of citizen videotaping, police credibility is at stake as never before," he wrote. "If enough testi-lying is uncovered, then who is going to believe the police even when they are telling the truth? They will be seen as crying wolf."

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
2014 Police Killings
CONVERSATIONS