LOCKPORT – An attorney for David J. Mongielo, a Town of Lockport auto repair shop owner, said Monday that Mongielo is considering a police brutality lawsuit against the City of Lockport in the wake of his arrest Thursday.
Mongielo, 46, who is awaiting trial on charges of violating the Town of Lockport sign ordinance, appeared Monday in City Court on charges of second-degree obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, unregistered vehicle, second-degree harassment and two counts of using a cellphone while driving in connection with Thursday’s incident.
He had a scrape over his right eye and two scabs on his knee, allegedly from being forced to the pavement during the arrest Thursday on Lincoln Avenue.
Mongielo handed a motion to Judge William J. Watson asserting that City Court has no jurisdiction over him, because he is a “sovereign citizen.” Mongielo also contended that the court is unlawful because it was created by statute, and statutes, he said, aren’t laws.
It’s the same argument he used unsuccessfully before Lockport Town Justice Raymond E. Schilling in the sign ordinance case. It did produce several months of delay, but Mongielo has been convicted of violating a conditional discharge on his first sign violation and is scheduled for trial on the second violation July 29.
Monday, Assistant District Attorney David A. Hoffman requested time to reply to Mongielo’s motion. Watson scheduled a return date of July 22.
Attorney Frank T. Housh, who is representing Mongielo, said he is not adopting his client’s motion and won’t represent him in City Court until it is disposed of.
Mongielo, of Day Road, was arrested Thursday during his second trip through a police checkpoint set up on Lincoln Avenue to check for vehicle violations. Mongielo made it through on the first occasion, but, according to his own written account, he challenged the officers and asked if this was Nazi Germany.
He said he returned 20 to 30 minutes later after eating lunch at home. The checkpoint was still up, and this time Officer William E. Jones noticed that Mongielo’s vehicle had an expired registration sticker.
“He baited them,” Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano contended. “He came back to the roadblock and pointed his phone at them to take video. Then they noticed his registration. He called them Nazis. They asked him to step out of the car, and he said he was a sovereign citizen. They didn’t know what that meant. I never heard of it before.”
“So the only rational response is to pull my client out of the car and beat him?” Housh asked. “Even by their account, it’s clear the police acted improperly.”
Police Chief Lawrence M. Eggert said, “In my personal opinion, I believe the officers did their jobs correctly, based on the situation.” Eggert also said he’d like to see the cellphone video and have a talk with Mongielo, who said he attempted to file a complaint Friday with the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office but was turned down.