KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A former Kansas City police officer was convicted of third-degree assault when he admitted repeatedly striking a restrained suspect in the face and head with his fist during an arrest on Oct. 5, 2013.
According to court documents, Carl Counti, 39, and Sgt. Lemoine attempted to arrest a man suspected in an armed carjacking in the area of 24th Street and Cypress in Kansas City, Mo. The suspect in the carjacking — later named the victim in the assault case — Alfredo Ponce, 21, resisted arrest. Counti was charged with third-degree assault for punching Ponce in the face and/or head area nine to 10 times during the struggle to apprehend him.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker said this incident was a black mark on the entire Jackson County justice community.
“If you ever lose faith in us, in the police or in prosecutors to do the right thing. And to do the right thing every time, then we have lost our ability to administer justice,” Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker said.
Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte said that what former officer Counti did was the result of one rogue person’s action.
“This is not a reflection of our entire police department, it`s a reflection on one person, that lost control, under one circumstance,” Chief Forte said.
He also talked about the values that all officers understand when they take their oath to serve and protect.
“He and others are trained better than that, and we`ve taken an oath to do better than that and to protect our people,” Chief Forte said.
Like Peters-Baker, Forte said it's important that action was taken so that the community’s trust doesn’t waver.
“I`m not happy about what happened, I apologized to our community for what happened because if we don`t have trust between the police and the community, we can`t accomplish what we need to,” Forte said.
Peters-Baker praised the police department for its investigation and indicated this should a message to other officers that excessive force is not welcome in Kansas City.
“They acted as they should. They investigated as they should. Neither one of us (Baker and Forte) tolerate that kind of behavior, it`s not going to be tolerated,” she said.