By Davy V.
For years he ran the Greece, NY Police department the “Good ol’ boys club” way.
Former Greece, NY Police Chief Merritt Rahn, now a convicted criminal who has served about 2 1/2 years in State prison for four felonies and three misdemeanors related to his cover-up of serious crimes committed by two of his former officers, has been granted parole.
In 2008 former Rochester, NY Police officer and Greece Police Sgt. Nick Joseph was off duty, drinking and doing cocaine at Spenders bar on Lyell Ave. in Rochester, NY when he got behind the wheel of his brother David Joseph’s (Joseph is a Sgt. with the Rochester, NY Police department) Ford Fusion and while racing on interstate 390 North, doing in excess of 80 miles per hour, rear ended a stalled vehicle which was parked on the shoulder.
In that vehicle was Alexis Sharpe, a young pregnant mother.
The impact ruptured Sharpe’s placenta and she had to undergo emergency surgery, forcing her to deliver her daughter, Azaria, 14 weeks prematurely.
Azaria spent 93 days in the hospital and suffers ongoing medical problems.
Joseph fled under the cover of darkness immediately after crashing into Sharpe’s vehicle.
The incident led to Greece, NY Police Sgt. Nick Joseph being convicted of aggravated vehicular assault, two counts of second-degree assault, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, and first-degree perjury; as well as two misdemeanors: driving while ability impaired and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Key evidence in Joseph’s trial included surveillance video from the bar which showed Joseph downing drink after drink, as well as cocaine residue on the airbag of the Ford Fusion.
Nick Joseph was sentenced 3 to 7 years in New York State prison.
The investigation into Joseph’s incident led to former Greece Police Chief Merritt Rahn also being charged with several felonies in connection with Joseph’s hit and run, including guilty of tampering with public records, hindering a prosecution, falsifying business records, falsely reporting an incident, and two counts of official misconduct in an attempt to cover up the Joseph incident.
Merritt Rahn was also found guilty of offering a false instrument for filing in the case of former Greece Police officer Gary Pignato’s background check.
In Rahn’s 2009 trial, cell phone records showed several calls made between Joseph and Rahn after Joseph’s hit and run.
It is believed that Rahn tried to cover-up for Joseph, including telling Joseph not to immediately go to the hospital for a cut on his forehead which he suffered in the accident, so as to avoid blood tests which would have shown alcohol and cocaine.
Merritt Rahn was convicted and sentenced 1 2/3 to 5 years in New York State prison.
Also in 2009, Greece, NY Police officer Gary Pignato, also a former Rochester, NY Police officer, who was fired from the RPD, was charged with bribery and coercion, stemming from several traffic stops of women, whom he would try to force into having sex with him in exchange for him letting them off traffic tickets and crimes.
In one case, Pignato responded to a domestic disturbance call where the boyfriend of a young woman had called police.
The woman had been drinking alcohol.
Once Pignato learned the woman was on probation, he bribed the woman by telling her that if she did not have sex with him he would arrest her and she would be in violation of her probation.
Pignato would routinely follow women to their homes and stalk them.
At his sentencing, Pignato told the Judge “I literally placed my life on the line” as an officer and that it’s “degrading and demoralizing to be in jail.”
Pignato was sentenced 2 to 6 years in New York State Prison.
Merritt Rahn hired Pignato despite Pignato’s long history of misconduct, including being from the Rochester, NY Police department.
In hiring Nick Joseph, Rahn also ignored his long history of misconduct and corruption when Joseph worked on the Rochester, NY Police department’s Tactical unit, including the fact in 1998 a Federal jury, found that Nick Joseph violated my civil rights when he broke into my home without a warrant, beat me and falsely arrested me in retaliation for my having videotaped his brother, David Joseph, a few months earlier, mistreating a Jamaican motorist during a traffic stop.
Merritt Rahn’s son, Chad Rahn, a former Irondequoit, NY Police officer was recently paroled after serving State prison time for being convicted of accessing classified 911 information.
Chad Rahn used his authority as a police officer to gain access to 911 records to identify a man who called police on Frank Arena, an individual who was selling drugs out of his home.
Arena and Rahn were friends.
Rahn gave Arena the man’s name and address.
Arena beat the man, seriously injuring him.
Arena was later convicted and is serving time.
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