Friday, December 2, 2011

Constable Gun Draw Charges Rest With Magistrate

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—All a South Shore constable, his constable father, school officials, witnesses and a dead-beat dad the two well-known constables arrested in the parking lot of Brockton's Trinity Catholic Academy can do is wait for a clerk magistrate’s decision on whether or not pulling out a gun during the arrest should be a criminal offense.
During a probable cause hearing in Brockton District Court Thursday afternoon, Philip McCue, a Plymouth District Court magistrate, after about 90 minutes of testimony from Trinity Catholic School officials—including Principal Cynthia Dunn-McNally and Ward 5 City Councilor Dennis DeNapoli—said his decision would be based on whether the gun draw by constable Adam Loomis was an assault with a dangerous weapon and endangered the two children of the arrested father.
The two charges are felonies and could jeopardize Loomis’ right to carry a firearm and possibly result in the loss of his constable’s license in the communities he operates.
“It’s clear what happened that day is really inexcusable, but whether it rose to criminality,” McCue said at the close of the hearing.
Loomis’ defense hinges on whether he was justified in drawing his gun against George Haikal, a former restaurant owner and father of two boys who had been arrested by the Loomis’ in 2008 and 2009, and April, 2011 for nonpayment of child support for his two sons.
Another arrest warrant was issued for Haikal in October for non-payment of $45,000 in child support.
Loomis, standing in front of Haikal’s station wagon, pulled his gun when the car driven by Haikal lunged forward when the constables attempted to make the arrest.
What’s not disputed is that Loomis pulled the gun.
What is in dispute is why, and if brandishing the weapon endangered Haikal’s two young sons, who were in the car and in the process of getting out of the car, when the weapon was pointed over the hood at the windshield toward Haikal.
The arrest warrant allowed Loomis and his father Jerold—best known for his participation in pop star Bobby Brown’s 1997 arrest--the authority to arrest Haikal anywhere in the state, and after spotting Haikal heading to Trinity Catholic in a brown station wagon on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at about 7:15 a.m., the two constables followed Haikal to the school’s busy parking lot.
Loomis, who lives in Rockland and is a licensed constable in Scituate and Quincy, in a statement read by Quincy attorney William Sullivan and submitted into evidence, said Haikal appeared to know he was being followed because Haikal took evasive and erratic steps to “lose” the constables by taking sharp quick turns without signaling and turning up and down different streets until the trio of vehicles arrived at Trinity Catholic’s Upper Campus at 35 Erie Ave.
Loomis, said Haikal’s car moved forward and that was when Loomis pulled the gun because he feared for his life.
In the statement, Loomis said he had his badge displayed and identified himself.
Witnesses disagreed, the Loomis’ made it clear who they were and what they were doing.
City councilor Dennis DeNapoli, who testified he has known Haikal for 10 to 12 years, said the car lunge- forward was not life threatening and may have jumped because the other constable was grabbing Haikal by the neck and Haikal’s foot came off the brake.
The car, DeNapoli said, had not been placed into park.
Four witnesses testified, including Principal Dunn-McNally, DeNapoli, and Trinity Catholic teachers John Ballard and Annette Bailey.
Loomis did not testify and neither did Haikal, who attended the hearing with his lawyer David Asack.
All of the witnesses except Ballard, who is hard of hearing, said the constables shouted at Haikal to get out of the car, and the shouting drew attention to the scene in the parking lot.
DeNapoli said he heard the shouting and recognized Haikal’s car and headed over to see what was going on. He said he did not know Haikal was wanted for arrest.
DeNapoli said the constables did not identify themselves and only about ¾ quarters of the way through the event--that all witnesses said happened in less than 1 or 2 minutes—that he heard the constables were there on an arrest warrant.
Loomis’s lawyer Sullivan questioned DeNapoli’s memory and observations when he presented a written statement by DeNapoli about the event in which DeNapoli says it is Jerold Loomis at the front of the car pulling the gun and not his son Adam—a description DeNapoli first gave to
In another article, DeNapoli told he had the men “mixed up” and not knowing which was which or who was who until after the event, came to learn it was Adam Loomis who pulled the gun and that he was initially mistaken.
Sullivan continued to question DeNapoli about the letter and DeNapoli tried to explain the mistake, but became agitated at Sullivan’s questions, and began to move in a herky-jerky way--moving from one foot to the other, side to side, and putting his hands in his pockets, and making hand gestures. .
Eventually DeNapoli’s right hand went up in the air in an unusual manner.
Magistrate McCue interrupted DeNapoli’s explanation and told him attorney Sullivan was just doing his job and until that point DeNapoli had “comported himself as a gentleman” and should continue doing so.
DeNapoli said he understood and his testimony ended with him saying Haikal’s two sons were exiting the car when Loomis pulled the gun.
DeNapoli, unlike the other three witnesses, said the Loomis’ came in one vehicle and not two.
The witness after DeNapoli, sixth grade teacher Annette Bailey, testified she saw two cars pull up—one behind, and the other to the right side of Haikal’s wagon—said she heard a commotion and yelling and then saw Haikal’s car lurch forward in a lurch-and-stop, lurch-and-stop action.
She said Loomis had to back up from the car’s movement.
“Yes, I thought he was going to be hit. I thought he was going to go down,” Bailey said.
Another witness, Trinity Catholic computer science teacher John Ballard said he saw Adam Loomis put his hand on or very close to the hood of the car.
“It was clear that the intention was for him to say to the guy stop,” Ballard said.
All of the witnesses said Haikal’s children were in the car when the gun was drawn.
Principal Dunn-McNally said she was standing about 20 to 30 feet away from the car when she saw the gun drawn.
She said not knowing who the Loomis’ were and did not hear anything about an arrest warrant, she thought there had been a road rage incident and once seeing the gun she ordered teachers and students for a building lock-down.
Dunn-McNally said Haikal’s children were in the car when she began rounding up students and staff, and it was not until after Haikal had been pulled out of the car and handcuffed did she see the children again.
“I was at the top of the (school) steps when the two Haikal children ran to me,” Dunn-McNally said. “They were very frightened and I brought them to my office,” she said.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew Libby said Loomis’ actions showed poor judgment because they could have made the arrest somewhere other than the grounds of Trinity Catholic and the gun draw placed children in the parking lot in danger.
Libby said Loomis’ actions exceeded the arrest warrant and the charges should proceed to an arraignment.
Loomis’ lawyer Sullivan disagreed and said Haikal was “hiding behind his kids,” and he was the one who put his children in danger by not getting out of the car and not paying the child support demanded by Brockton District Court rulings.
“Maybe the arrest would have been better somewhere else, but it’s not enough to meet the standard,” Sullivan said.
Yesterday's probable cause hearing was expected to be closed to the public, however when Magistrate McCue learned members of the press were in attendance he allowed arguments from and WXBR to allow the media to cover the hearing--which McCue did.

1 comment:

  1. probaly would have been smoother if his son checked if the car was in park before grabbing haikal by his neck through the car window,what if car did roll ,gun discharged while dear old dad was getting pinned bullet in wrong direction