Niagara Gazette

Courts

March 6, 2014

Mongielo jury to begin deliberations on Friday

LOCKPORT: Charges stem from checkpoint arrest by police.

Niagara Gazette —

LOCKPORT — A city court jury will begin deliberations today in the trial of David J. Mongielo, the auto shop owner who was arrested during a city police traffic checkpoint on June 27.

The three-day trial came to a close Thursday afternoon as Mongielo and a Lockport city police officer took the stand as the last witnesses.

Mongielo, 47, Day Road, Town of Lockport, is charged with two counts of unlawful use of a portable device while driving, second-degree harassment, second-degree obstruction of governmental administration and resisting arrest.

He was also charged with driving without a valid registration, but that charge was dismissed Thursday by City Court Judge William J. Watson.

In his closing arguments to jurors Thursday, Mongielo's attorney, Frank Housh, said the prosecution's case – that police acted properly, Mongielo was looking for trouble and interfered with officers – doesn't make sense. The prosecution's four witnesses, Lockport Police Officers Heather Rohde, Kevin Lucinski, William Jones and the retired Lt. David Barrancotta, gave conflicting testimonies.

"They couldn't get their stories straight," he said.

Assistant District Attorney John P. Granchelli said in his closing arguments that Mongielo isn't above the law. And the reason the four officers' testimonies differed slightly is because they each had their own perspective and experience with the June 27 altercation.

"So do the rules apply to David Mongielo?" Granchelli asked. "He was looking for trouble."

Mongielo's arrest took place at a Lockport Police traffic checkpoint June 27 on Lincoln Avenue. Officers initially let Mongielo pass through, despite Mongielo asking police why the checkpoint was being held and saying, "What is this, Nazi Germany?"

Mongielo testified Thursday he left his home and wanted to get back to his Robinson Road shop quickly. But he also wanted lunch, so he was heading to a South Transit Road fast food restaurant to save time.

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