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Wednesday 7 December 2022
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(Updated) Residents: Police Allegedly Trumping-Up Charges to Justify Officer-Involved Shooting

By Rodney Brown

 

Fathers DayShooting

Image from Police Video During Father’s Day Shooting on Syracuse’s Near West Side.

(Update, Sept. 28) – Onondaga County Judge Thomas J. Miller has sentenced Rasheena Jenkins-Ortiz to three years in prison, and 18 months of post-release supervision.

Miller reportedly denied Jenkins-Ortiz’s request to withdraw her guilty plea for riot and assault charges. 

According to an article on Syracuse.com, Jenkins said she didn’t know what she was doing when she initially plead guilty, and that her previous lawyer hadn’t given her any other choice. 

Jenkins-Ortiz’s family also previously claimed police had attempted to coerce Jenkins-Ortiz into signing statements that supported officers’ claims regarding what happened during an officer-involved shooting, and riot, on Father’s Day, June 19.

However, Miller dismissed her claim, and said Jenkins-Ortiz had satisfied six previous cases with pleas in the past. 

(From July 28) – Weeks have passed since the June 19 Father’s Day shooting that resulted in one person’s death, and more than 15 arrests.

A barrage of gunfire erupted in a crowd of more than 300 people during a party on Syracuse’s west side on June 19, between Tioga and Wyoming Streets.

Entangled in the aftermath, there have been reports from civilians that the man who was killed, Gary Porter, 41, of Syracuse, was shot in the back by Syracuse Police Officer Kelsey Francemone.

Accusations from witnesses have also surfaced that allege officers are threatening those arrested with long jail sentences if they don’t corroborate their statements with affidavits to justify the shooting.

And, among the more than 15 civilians who were arrested that night was Rasheena Jenkins-Ortiz.

Recently, according to Ortiz’s grandmother, her unwillingness to be coerced into signing statements that support officers’ claims regarding what transpired that night has led to her being arrested for a second time.

“My granddaughter’s court-appointed lawyer, Sue Carey, wants her to accept a plea deal of one to four years, and sign a statement saying she didn’t see officer Francemone shoot Porter in the back,” Ortiz’s grandmother stated. “She’s not being treated well in there. The officers are using intimidation, and threats to silence her.”

Although results from the ballistic tests have not yet been completed, Jeff Piedmonte, president of the Syracuse Police Benevolent Association, has also publicly stated the fatal shot which killed Porter came from the gun of one of his officers.

A surveillance camera video showed a large crowd of people fleeing, and Officer Francemone running toward the gunfire, before disappearing into the crowd.

In addition, according to an article on Syracuse.com, Piedmonte said Francemone heard gunshots further into the party, and ran toward them that evening, while as many as 150 people ran the other way.

“When she got to the scene of the gun battle, the shooters refused to put down their guns, and she fired hers,” the article said. “By them firing their weapons, and not putting them down, she was forced to take action.”

Ortiz was arrested for the assault of an officer during the night of the melee.

Following the incident, after she was bailed out on a $10,000 bond, she was arrested again, in a matter of days on a rioting charge, and placed on a $50,000 bond.

Denasia Jones, a witness from the night of the shooting, said she was fleeing with Jenkins-Ortiz, when they came upon Porter lying on the ground after being shot.

“Sheena observed the officers weren’t giving Porter medical attention once he was down,” Jones stated. “So, she politely asked the officers why no one was helping him. None of the officers responded to her question, so she tried to keep Porter from swallowing his own blood, by holding his head up, and that’s when the officers began to attack her, and one of them placed Sheena in a chokehold. After mumbling she can’t breathe, and the officers’ refusal to loosen their grip around her neck, she had no choice but to bite the officer’s hand. And, that ultimately led to her arrest for assault on an officer.”

The next day, police allegedly raided several apartments in the Geddes housing complex, looking for people who they thought may have been involved in assaulting officers on the night of the conflict.

Witnesses said, during the sweep, residents were urged to go inside, and remain there, or face being arrested.

When Ortiz was spotted outside her apartment, she was arrested again, this time for rioting, and remains in jail today.

“They are holding Sheena on trumped-up charges, and I don’t know where to turn for help,” Ortiz’s grandmother stated. “I’ve been trying to contact her lawyer for weeks, to begin the process to request a bond reduction. She refuses to return my calls, so I’m beginning to think she’s working against the interest of Sheena. When she (the lawyer) does find time to visit Sheena in jail, it’s only to see if she’s ready to accept a plea deal.”

CNY Vision has reached out to Sue Carey, the lawyer who was appointed to represent Jenkins-Ortiz, for answers to questions surrounding the case, but Carey has yet to return our phone calls.

Note: After an investigation, it has been determined that the man shot on June 19 had a gun. If he had been unarmed, the New York State Attorney General would have taken the case, and assigned a special prosecutor. However, based upon that information, this case will now be handled by Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick.

Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=yMxEZpKKDUI to view video from the shooting, or click on the image below.

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