MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Dozens of DWI arrests on Long Island may be thrown out due to inconsistent testimony involving a veteran Nassau police officer and a rookie cop.

Roslyn Heights restaurant manager James Karalis faced felony drunken driving charges and even the lifetime loss of his license.

“It’s an ordeal that is now in the past, and I look forward to just living the rest of my life with my license,” he told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.

His case is among more than 50 in which Nassau judges agreed to reduce or dismiss charges based on questionable arrests by veteran Nassau Police Officer Michael Palazzo.

“Mr. Kalaris, like many others who are charged with a crime … feel the jury will believe the police officer,” Susan Scaring Carman, Karalis’ defense attorney, said, “but here, there was a video that exposed Officer Palazzo.”

Michael Palazzo (Credit: Newsday)

The cop’s credibility came into question when store surveillance video from a Greenvale arrest of a female driver surfaced, revealing conflicts with the officer and his partner’s sworn testimony, according to the DA.

“People saw the video, you can see she is walking fine,” defense attorney Robert Brunetti said. “You can see he gave the test wrong. You can see he was having her face next to flashing lights and that the way he did the tests were improper.”

“His video was very important because it really contradicted that officer’s testimony,” said Gregory Grizopoulos, with the Criminal Courts Bar Association of Nassau County.

Grizopoulos sent a letter to members of Nassau’s bar association, alerting them to the video and warning them to evaluate as many as six dozen cases involving Palazzo.

“Officer Palazzo was one of the police officers in the county who does a lot of DWI work. He’s a common thread to many DWI cases, especially on the North Shore,” he said.

The veteran officer retired from his 20-year police career in March of 2018, one month after the video emerged. He has consistently defended his actions.

Palazzo maintains his arrests were factual and says he retired due to workplace harassment. He is suing the county.

The defense attorneys who spoke to CBS2 are crediting the integrity of the district attorney’s office, saying multiple other DWI cases are now on hold.

Palazzo has not yet responded to CBS2’s request for an on-camera interview.

Comments
  1. Rob says:

    I was arrested by officer Palazzo back in December of 2015, I was pulled over after picking my daughter up from a sweet sixteen from Leonard’s Catering Hall around 11pm. He claimed I failed to signal while changing lanes, which wasn’t true, I never changed lanes. He was very intimidating and I was scared. I passed all of his sobriety tests also while facing the storefront of The Harley Davidson with his patrol car lights on bouncing off my face. I never took a breathalyzer, I didn’t understand why I was being harassed, I requested another police officer to come to the seen. When his body building buddy arrived, I was put in cuffs and taken away. I experienced a panic attack while in cuffs and requested medical attention but I was ignored! I also retained Robert Brunetti, Mr. Brunetti caught him and his partner Polumbo in many lies and inconsistencies during the pretrial hearing, all of which were proven, we even had a fellow officer of his that observed me for a full hour while I was at the precinct testify at the pretrial hearing that contradicted his testimony of my demeanour from back at the precinct. Even that officer broke protocol on video mistreating me with regards to my rights, it was viewed at the pretrial hearing for everyone to see. I could have beat the case with NO doubt in my mind, The “ADA” immediately drastically reduced the charges to make me take a deal. At that time Mr. Brunetti wanted an extra $15,000 minimal to proceed to trial. Having four children, a mortgage pooled together with the fact that I became unemployed due to losing my license at the time I had NO choice but to accept a deal and even possibly risk facing time in jail if found guilty. That whole ordeal changed my life. Five years later I still have NOT been able to recover the financial losses that ordeal had caused me. The Nassau County Police department was aware of Officer Palazzo’s history during his employment. The Nassau County Police Department had settled out of court for an undisclosed amount to a family for his abuse of power during an arrest. Mr. Palazzo was sued in small claims court by a small business as well because of abuse of power. Mr. Palazzo was founder of an animal rescue organization which weekly aired on The Animal Planet Television Channel but was cancelled because of his associates so called mob ties! In addition, Mr. Palazzo also had ties with the same associates operating a physical fitness facility. Mr. Palazzo also suffered double kidney failure and transplants while serving on The Nassau County Police Department. Another known fact, for a few years, Mr. Palazzo would take all of his vacation time and sick days consecutively to compete in bodybuilding competitions. Please find and take a look at his body building pics online. Although there is NO proof of steroid use, it could have gone under the radar because of his prolonged annual vacation time from the police department for his body building competitions? Are there any psychological or behavioral attributes associated with steroid use? Did any of his superiors ever question or investigate his behavior or demeanor?

    I lost my job, I had to sell my house, I embarrassed myself, my children and family because of the consequences I had to face. I had NO idea how much pain that whole ordeal would cause me, nor did I know that it would haunt me for the rest of my life.

    I attempted to limit the details of my investigation relating to Mr. Palazzo’s affiliations, however everything I was able to dig up on him is readily available for all to see on the internet.

    Where is my justice?

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