Second federal court case filed against Rojas

Posted by Jeremy Shulkin

With one day left before the expiration of a three year filing deadline, attorneys Hector Pineiro and Robert Beadel have submitted a civil lawsuit in federal court on behalf of Dana Sneade, Elijah Williamson and Sharde Russell over an incident in March of 2008 when (former) officer Mark Rojas, called in to remove an intoxicated person from a Vale St. home, shot and killed a family dog.

In a lengthy statement of fact section, the attorneys charge that by killing “Bruno,” an 85 pound boxer-chow mix, Rojas violated the family’s fourth amendment rights, equating destruction of property to a “seizure of property,” and calling Rojas’ discharge of his gun in their home as “dangerous,” “unjustified” and “excessive.” The plaintiffs argue that their 14th amendment rights were violated when Rojas later accessed Sneade’s CORI and provided it to her employer (leading to her termination) and allegedly made false statements to the Department of Social Services with the intent of intimidating her.

Chief of Police Gary Gemme and City Manager Michael O’Brien are named as defendants as well, with the plaintiffs arguing that they did not adequately discipline Rojas for past transgressions. In the court document, the lawyers argue that “failing to enforce control and accountability for officers’ use of force or improper use of CORI information was in whole or in part the moving force behind the incidents of misconduct described.”

In 2008 Telegram articles related to this incident, a WPD Internal Affairs investigation cleared Rojas of wrongdoing in the shooting of Bruno, and a WPD spokesman told the paper that officers are often attacked by “uncontrolled animals” and that Rojas felt he was in “clear and immediate danger.”

Rojas already has another  federal court case pending in regards to a 2006 altercation with then 25-year-old Katie Warren (who, as of last April, was being represented by Pineiro).

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages, injunctive relief, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and any other “relief as the court deems just and proper.” They’re also asking all the defendants be held “joint[ly] and severally liable.”

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Second federal court case filed against Rojas

  1. WPD Retired

    Chief of Police Gary Gemme and City Manager Michael O’Brien should be sued because they are both corrupt and need to be fired, but leave Rojas out of it Let him Retire in Peace.

  2. Truth Be Told

    this is another way that Hector Pineiro can get back at Gemme for not issueing him the proper licence to carry. Gemme should be and will be sued in the future for being a corrupt chief but this lawsuit from Pineiro is something Chief Gary Gemme is very familiar with, A PERSONAL VENDETTA

  3. Boots

    I wonder what the dog did to deserve getting shot? I also wonder who put the ad there for InstantCheckMate.com? If you GOOGLE it there are lists of complaints and deceptive business practices by them. Don’t subscribe to that outfit unless you like getting ripped off, or to make a pun, get checkmated. Shame on WoMag! Let the reader beware.

  4. was this dog registered? did it have a license with the city?

    often when I walk my dogs around the area between Highland St south to May Streets I meet up with dogs not registered, not properly leashed or being led by smaller kids who–in my opinion–don’t have the strength to handle a pit bull if it gets looose.

    Many times, these are DANGEROUS, aggressive dogs.

  5. In The Know

    Chief of Police Gary Gemme and City Manager Michael O’Brien are named in this lawsuit and will be named in another lawsuit in the near future because they are corrupt and need to be replaced.

  6. -Q

    This is not as much about a “rogue” cop running amok as it is more about a “rogue city manager” wasting our precious few taxpayer dollars in countless cases of groundless and without merit litigation while the city council sits idly by and allowing this travesty to continue unabated…….The taxpayers are on the hook for multiple lawsuits brought on our city because of the city managers misguided rational and pompous self inflated ego……taxpayers and residents deserve much better than what this city manager has wrought on our city!

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