Geneva City Police Officer Jack Montesanto was charged with one count of criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly putting a woman in a choke hold while booking her at the Geneva Public Safety Building. The victim was not seriously injured in the incident,
GENEVA — A Geneva police officer was arrested Wednesday, charged with one count of criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, a Class A misdemeanor.
Geneva City Police Officer Jack Montesanto was charged July 31 at about 11:15 a.m. by the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office. According to Police Chief Michael Passalacqua, Montesanto allegedly used unnecessary force on a female suspect who was under arrest by the Geneva Police Department for two violation-level offenses. Passalacqua said evidence from a body camera is part of the investigation, and the victim is cooperating.
The officer allegedly put the woman into a choke hold while booking her at the Geneva Public Safety Building.
"As Chief I pledge that this matter will be dealt with fairly and justly, upholding the rights of all involved," Passalacqua stated during the press conference.
Montesanto was suspended from his duties with pay and turned in his service weapon.
The chief said he initiated an internal and subsequent criminal investigation into Montesanto’s on-duty conduct on July 25. The internal investigation is being handled by the police department’s Internal Affairs Unit; the county sheriff’s office was asked to conduct the criminal investigation.
“It is never a good day when a Chief of Police has to report the arrest of a police officer from their own agency but it is a necessary part of maintaining a credible and transparent agency,” Passalacqua stated. “Although this allegation is disturbing it in no way diminishes the trust I have in the women and men of the Geneva Police Department who work hard every day to protect our city.”
The victim did not seek medical attention after the incident.
"Policing today is hard, it's a tough job," said Passalacqua. "When you have something like this happen it's disappointing, it's discouraging — it's disturbing to say the least. You learn from what goes on you try to become better because of it."