MOUNT MORRIS – The former part-time Mount Morris Police Officer who was arrested on a misdemeanor and two harassment charges now accuses the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office and Mount Morris Police Chief of fabricating the charges.
David Skinner, 29, says that investigating Livingston County Deputy Sheriffs refused to take statements from six of his family members at the scene, a child’s birthday party at his home.
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“Chief [Ken] Mignemi is pressing these charges as retaliation against me because he is dating my ex,” said Skinner. “I was set up. As a now former member of law enforcement, there is such a thing as officer discretion, but when you have multiple people willing to give statements you always take a statement.”
Undersheriff Matt Bean said that as in any investigation into a family trouble, Deputies took statements from complaining witnesses, in this case three: a child under age 10 who Skinner allegedly pushed and yelled at; the child’s mother, whom Skinner allegedly knocked down; and a male adult, who said that he saw the entire incident.
“His mother wanted to file a complaint and have the adult female witness arrested for giving a false statement,” said Bean. “Deputies believed that they had already spoken to everyone who was in the room and actually saw the incident. As in any investigation into a family trouble, investigating Deputies took statements from people they believed actually saw the incident, not heard it from the next room. Speaking to the complainants, there was enough for us to have reasonable cause to believe that a crime was committed. We did not hold a trial. We did not decide whether he is innocent or guilty of these charges. That is not our job. The charges now go to Mount Morris Court to decide that based on the evidence that we collected.”
According to supporting depositions taken by the Sheriff’s Office, the child, their mom and the male witness allege that Skinner first pushed and yelled at the child at the party, then pushed the child’s mother when she confronted Skinner.
“I was playing and running around when I accidentally knocked over my cousin […]” said the child in the deposition. “Dave came after me and pushed me to the ground and started yelling at me a lot.”
“I went inside with the rest of the balloons and saw [the child] on the floor crying,” said the adult male witness. “As I was going to pick up [the child], [the female complainant] went flying by me yelling at Dave and then she came back by me backwards and landed on the floor.”
“He [Skinner] grabbed me by both arms and shoved me back and fell onto the floor in the dining room area,” said the adult female witness.
Skinner’s mother, Brenda LaVerdi, says that she did see the whole incident but Deputies would not talk to her.
“I was helping my mother in through the back door when [the child] comes around the corner and wipes out on the floor,” said LaVerdi. “I didn’t see [the child] knock over [another child]. Here comes David, yelling at him that he’s tired of his crap and better knock it off. [The child’s] mom was yelling and went for Dave, yelling in his face. Dave was holding his arms out, looking the other way, and she had her finger going, you know, and he swipes her arm out of his face. She starts to go back. You had to see it, but she was trying to get her footing but just couldn’t. She wound up falling on her rump.”
Skinner is charged with misdemeanor Endangering the Welfare of a Child and two counts of Harassment in the Second Degree, a violation. He resigned from his position with the Mount Morris Police Department and will appear in Mount Morris court at a later date to answer the charges.