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Utica police officer suspended after allegedly using unauthorized force during arrest

A Utica police officer has been suspended without pay, and is facing termination, after city officials say he used excessive force during an arrest last week.

Posted: Sep 10, 2020 10:59 AM
Updated: Sep 10, 2020 5:52 PM

UTICA, N.Y. – A Utica police officer has been suspended without pay, and is facing termination, after city officials say he used unauthorized physical force during an arrest last week.

Utica Police Chief, Mark Williams, says Officer Matthew Felitto used unauthorized force while arresting Kerwin Taylor during a domestic incident on Spring Street Friday. Felitto has been with the Utica Police Department for approximately a year and a half. 

Joleen Ferris // WKTV

Police were called to the residence after Taylor allegedly threatened a woman. Body cam footage shows Taylor fleeing the scene and resisting arrest, but he was eventually taken into custody and is facing multiple firearm charges.

Kerwin Taylor

Once Taylor was in custody, Officer Matthew Felitto, who was part of a transport unit and not involved in the prior chaos, can be seen, on body-worn camera footage, stomping on Taylory's head. Taylor was restrained, his wrists and ankles in shackles. Another officer was also heard telling Felitto to "stop" during the incident.

 "Once someone's hands are in handcuffs and their legs are shackled, there's no reason for the use of force that we saw," said Chief Williams. 

Officials shared the video during a press conference Thursday morning. 

"We believe the actions police administration have taken will send a strong message to the rest of the Utica Police Department that excessie force will not be tolerated and we will take swift action against those who violate our policies," said UPD Chief Mark Williams.

An administrative investigation is currently underway. Felitto has been suspended without pay, and the city is seeking termination under the collective bargaining agreement.

The case has also been referred to the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office, and Felitto may face criminal charges.

PLEASE NOTE: The full press conference video above contains footage and language that some may find offensive. Viewer discretion is advised.

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