LOCKPORT – Auto repair shop owner David J. Mongielo testified Thursday in his trial on charges of resisting arrest that Lockport Police Officer William E. Jones pounded Mongielo’s face against the pavement five or six times following a June 27 traffic stop.
A six-member jury will begin deliberating today on whether Mongielo is guilty of resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and other counts stemming from his alleged refusal to comply with Jones’ orders to produce a driver’s license and other papers.
Defense attorney Frank T. Housh asked the jury in his summation, “Does that make any sense to you, to fight with Officer Jones, an angry Officer Jones, armed, with Officer (Kevin S.) Lucinski behind him? Does David Mongielo seem that stupid to you?”
Assistant District Attorney John P. Granchelli countered, “The defendant is not exempt from the rules. He is not a special person.”
Mongielo, a two-time candidate for Lockport town supervisor, also is widely known for a long-running controversy over his violations of the town law banning flashing signs. His appeal of a 10-day jail term for that also is to be discussed before Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III today.
Mongielo was arrested after his second trip through a checkpoint where police were checking for seat belt and cellphone violations.
Jones and Lucinski testified that they pulled Mongielo from his pickup truck after he allegedly pushed Jones’ hand away when the officer tried to unbuckle Mongielo’s seat belt.
This occurred after, according to Jones, Mongielo did not respond to three orders to produce papers or three orders to exit the truck. Mongielo said he turned on his cellphone to try to create a video of the incident, but Lucinski said he took the phone as Mongielo was being removed from his vehicle.
Mongielo said Jones “took my right arm and cranked it behind my back. Excruciating pain. … He does a huge roundabout and throws me to the ground.”
After that, Mongielo said Jones used his right knee to pound Mongielo’s face against the asphalt five or six times, while bouncing on his back with his other knee. Mongielo required hospital treatment.
Housh said the officers differed on when they told Mongielo he was under arrest; Mongielo testified that they never did.
City Judge William J. Watson dismissed a charge of driving with an expired registration Thursday, after Housh said the prosecution had not offered any evidence that the registration had run out, although Mongielo admitted on the witness stand that it had.