States Attorney Lets NCPD Officer Fred Pickering Off after Bar Fight with Black Man

Stamford States Attorney David Cohen has finally told the town of New Canaan he will not be pressing charges against a 25 year veteran cop, Officer Fred Pickering, who was allegedly in a bar fight with a young black man. The incident happen late February and after a citizen complaint was filed by a few of the men at the bar Officer Pickering was put on paid leave. As I previously reported witnesses at the bar say Pickering came into the bar inebriated with a few of his Hockey buddies and Joel Anderson, a man Pickering has arrested before, got into a verbal altercation with Pickering’s crew that involved racial slurs directed at Joel. Anderson is in his mid-twenties, black, and was raised in New Canaan, Conn. The charges Pickering had once arrested him for in 2011 were waived.

What went on in the criminal investigation conducted by Pickering’s peers on the force is still a mystery and the police have not released their findings although several media publications have made FOI request. Fellow officers were telling town residents I spoke with that part of the States Attorney investigation involved Pickering coming into the bar drunk with a loaded gun or driving home drunk from the bar with a loaded gun in his car. An illegal move regardless of if you are a member of force. But when I fact checked the rumor with the NCPD and Pickering’s attorney they flat out denied this was part of the investigation. Which shows how lengthy drown out investigations without full transparency can sully the accused reputation. It also highlights the infighting within the New Canaan police.

Attorney Cohen and the States office told me they are not actually going to comment on the case today. The statement we see attributed to Cohen in the local papers is from communication he sent to the New Canaan police. I’d like see Cohen’s actual whole statement on the investigation and not just the part the NCPD chose to share.

NCPD said in a written press release this afternoon “Cohen said after a thorough review of all the evidence they did not find there was sufficient evidence presented to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any specific person has committed a crime.”

Attorney Darnell Crosland, president of the Norwalk NAACP chapter who has reviewed the case with Joel Anderson, told me after hearing David Cohen’s statement about no charges, “I respect the standard of guilt must be found beyond a reasonable doubt, but that’s not the standard for finding a person culpable for a wrong doing and for making an arrest. There only needs to be a finding of probable cause. If anyone of us was subjected to what Joel was subjected to we would expect that any court in a civilized society would find probable cause and conclude absent a rational explanation that something went wrong, and that a police officer should be held to a higher standard.”

This also means Pickering’s buddy, Robert Benson, who allegedly called Joel a Nigger also isn’t getting charged for say breach of peace or a hate crime. Clearly there isn’t a community standard the New Canaan police are using for breach of peach charges because just last month they charged a 68-year old woman with breach of peace for getting into a verbal altercation at a popular New Canaan restaurant called Sole. But Pickering and his rich Wall Street buddy gets off scott-free for their role in the bar fight?

Oddly, the NCPD still isn’t giving Pickering the all-clear. Chief Nadriczny told me today they are now starting an ‘internal investigation’ into if anything in the police manual of conduct was violated by Pickering. This also mean that the officer, a father of three kids who lives in expensive New Canaan, is still going to be out on paid leave. Leave that doesn’t included the lucrative overtime our town pays these cops. A FOI request done last year shows Pickering base salary is $98,000. So that means in the three months he’s been on paid leave the town’s spent around $25,000 for David Cohen to figure out he’s not going to do anything. Talk about a waste of taxpayers’ money. On the flipside this means Pickering has not been able to have the opportunity to earn his usual pay, which was around $152k last year.

So why did the NCPD wait until now to start their internal investigation. The citizen’s complaint, which would sparked an investigation of this type was filed back in late February. It’s because it’s likely a stall tactic to slow down any attorneys Joel Anderson has who are looking at suing Pickering or the town in a civil suit. Greenwich lawyer Phil Russell had initially taken on Joel as a client on contingency for a civil rights suit but nothing was filed.

The NCPD move also delays press FOI request seeking police notes and citizen complaints in the event. And on top of that, I was told by people close to Pickering that he is also considering suing the town of New Canaan after he’s been vindicated by the State’s attorney. Talk about a total Clusterfuck. It reads like the NCPD is in way over their head and residents could be paying for their mistakes via civil suits.

Pickering’s criminal attorney, Gene Riccio, told me they are glad about State’s attorney decision to drop the case and appreciate all the people in New Canaan who supported his client. But this story is far from over, as we now wait to see what the young black man will do in a civil suit and how Pickering will respond to the actions of town officials who are keeping him out on leave.


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  1. Good commentary on the issues Teri. If the NCPD are doing an internal investigation they should look at the officers who took Joel Anderson’s complaint. Why did they not respond right away and get a DUI test from Pickering that night. The verbal fight among Joel and Fred might not be the real crime here. The police follow up or lack of a quality investigation is much more of an issue. If Fred is clear of blame in this case then why did the NCPD take so long to keep him out of work. Is there an internal vendetta against Pickering that we are unaware of? Something just doesn’t smell right here and if Pickering thinks his case was not handled right he should sue. Citizens make complaints against our police a couple times a year but we don’t see the town suspending an officer? I hope you continue to investigate this because it is doubtful the kids at the Advertiser will do much.

  2. The toothless States Attorney at work again. Does he need Pickering to hit the black kid in the face to make charges? Verbal abuse by an officer of the law is just as bad.
    What was Pickering thinking coming to a town bar drunk in the first place.
    Excellent reporting here.

  3. Concerned Citizen says

    Look into a new BCCI type bank but this time around, its operational in Brazil.

    The outfit in question is Banco Paulista and its controlled subsidiary broker/dealer SOCOPA.

    This little bank, owned by a very traditional “Paulistano” family (the Vidigal family) has turned itself into the go to bank for money laundering, black market currency, corrupt politicians accounts, etc.

    They are even taking deposits (turned into cash usually within 48 hours) from known terrorist groups, known drug dealers, arms dealers, pirated/contraband goods dealers, etc.

    ± USD 400 Million per month comes from the triple frontier of Brazil/Paraguay/Argentina and into Banco Paulista in São Paulo. From there, they cash this money on a weekly basis and deliver it to the owners “Casas de Câmbio” to keep on moving. The bank is charging between 3% and 5% to cash out moneys and 20% to launder moneys.

    The Bank also charges a 3% flat feet to accept hard cash deposits of any source.

    Now the real deal is the black market currency exchange (known in Brazil as Doleiros).

    The bank uses its license to purchase official US Dollars from the Brazilian Central Bank (to the tune of US$ 10 million per day) therefore at official exchange rates and than sells the  same dollars in the black market (via fraudulent forex contracts). The focal point of distribution for the hard cash (both dollars and reais) is SOCOPA’s main office at Rua Funchal, 129  – 5º floor in São Paulo, Brazil.

    The person in charge of handing the cash over there is Mrs. Maria José

    There are four main “culprits” in this criminal activity:

    Alvaro Augusto Vidigal
    Alvaro Augusto de Freitas Vidigal
    Marcelo Pereira
    Tarcísio Rodrigues

    If one keeps an eye out on any regular day, they will see politicians, businessmen, regular people, criminals, etc., all going into SOCOPA to get their packets of cash.

    The authorities in São Paulo don’t care or at least pretend the issue does not exist and the local media is nowadays almost like in Venezuela (no reports involving politicians).

    If this gets the media it deserves, it has the power to bring down some top figures in the Financial World of Brazil and also some heavyweights from the political arena as well. Let’s not forget known/wanted criminals. 

    This little bank is a true “Atomic Bomb.”

  4. This case shows the failures of the men and women we choose to run our local government and courts. It’s sad that we let this cop get away with this.

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