Former Utica Police Officer Sentenced for Using Excessive Force
Matthew Felitto Kicked a Restrained Arrestee in the Face and Upper Chest
SYRACUSE, NEW YORK - Matthew Felitto, age 27, of Utica, New York, was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Syracuse after previously pleading guilty to violating the constitutionally protected right of an arrestee to be free from excessive force by a law enforcement officer. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Janeen DiGuiseppi, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
In pleading guilty previously, Felitto admitted that while working as a police officer for the Utica Police Department in September 2020, he arrived on the scene of an arrest to assist in transporting the arrested individual to the station. The arrestee was handcuffed behind his back and in leg shackles when Felitto arrived because he had been refusing to comply with the commands of other officers already on-scene. Felitto helped those officers place the arrestee in the back of a police van. Once the arrestee was lying on the floor of the van face up and restrained, Felitto kicked him several times in the face and upper chest while wearing work boots. The kicks were without legal justification and were made with sufficient force to cause the arrestee pain and a bruised and swollen lip.
Chief United States District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby sentenced Felitto to a term of probation of 2 years and a fine of $7,500. Felitto will be required to perform 100 hours of community service during his probation term. As a convicted felon, Felitto will be prohibited under federal law from owning or possessing a firearm. Pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement Felitto has resigned from the Utica Police Department.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael D. Gadarian and Michael F. Perry with the assistance of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice.