Commander of East New York’s 75th Precinct Inspector John Mastronardi will be transferred from his high-ranking position to a less high-profile spot in the Chief of Detectives’ office after facing backlash from the local community, New York Daily News reports.
Local residents have complained that Mastronardi acts divisively and aggressively, and he was heavily criticized for his handling of an April 2020 fight with local residents over mask wearing that was caught on video.
Mastrondardi was not wearing a mask in the video and he was accused of slamming a detainee’s head into the sidewalk.
Following the incident, his boss at the time Assistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey told Mastronardi he had to lead by example and wear his mask, and make sure all his officers were also wearing masks.
Police Spokesman Sergeant Edward Riley did not address Mastronardi’s transfer, but said there would several executive announcements for the Chief of Departments’ and Chief of Detectives’ offices soon due to recent changes.
Mastronardi, a 21-year veteran of the NYPD, faces a Change.org petition for his removal that says during the pandemic he was caught on video using excessive force and he had not provided the leadership of police accountability in the precinct. The petition currently has 261 signatures.
Crisis Action Network Founder Rev. Kevin McCall, who launched the petition, said Brooklyn and the NYPD didn’t need racist and overly aggressive leaders, and the community was “glad to see him go.”
The 75th Precinct had the highest number of civilian complaints filed against it of all NYPD precincts, although it serves the largest geographical area and has the highest number of officers assigned.
Community activist Chris Banks supported Mastronardi’s transfer, saying the incident caught on video showed how Mastronardi did not do his job of de-escalating a situation and instead lost control of a situation that could have been avoided.
“If you speak to residents here, there’s a big distrust with the police,” Banks said. “All lines of communication are broken when you have an inspector engaging in physical confrontations. There has to be a level of professionalism that has to be maintained.”
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