Warning – This article contains graphic images.

A Beaver County judge has dismissed all of the remaining felony charges filed against an Industry man last August by the Beaver Borough Police Department, finding no evidence to substantiate charges that James Edward Cicco had resisted arrest by Patrolman Jeffery Wijnen-riems or taunted his police K-9 Czar.

Beaver Patrolman Jeffery Wijnen-riems had alleged that Cicco resisted arrest, assaulted him, grabbed a hand drill, and taunted his K-9 partner during an encounter on August 19th. Eyewitnesses alleged the officer was aggressive and used unnecessary force against a man who they say was clearly trying to surrender. Cicco suffered gruesome injuries during the arrest as a result of Wijnen-riems deploying his police K-9 on the man — police dash cam video of the incident played in court appears to show the dog mauling Cicco while he is handcuffed. An investigation into the incident by the Pennsylvania State Police found no criminal wrongdoing on the part of the officer.

Common Pleas Judge Dale Fouse granted a pretrial motion today filed on behalf of James Cicco, who sought dismissal of charges ahead of his trial scheduled for next month. Among the charges thrown out by Judge Fouse include felony counts of fleeing or eluding the police and taunting a police animal. Judge Fouse also dismissed misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and driving under the influence.

Judge Fouse summarized events of the night Officer Wijnen-riems pulled over James Cicco following a 44-second, low-speed pursuit, that ended when the suspect stopped after turning into his own driveway:

“The Officer reached into the vehicle cabin and grabbed defendant by the wrist and elbow in a twisting motion, appearing to intend, at that time, to either remove the Defendant from the vehicle or place him in handcuffs. The Officer tugs on the Defendant’s arm but the Defendant does not allow himself to be pulled from the vehicle. Officer Wijnen-Riems then appears to reach for his firearm but decides not to unholster it; rather, he leans into the vehicle and struggles with the Defendant. The Officer unhooks the Defendant’s seatbelt and then, pulling the seatbelt away from the Defendant’s body, walks away from the vehicle returning to his own.”

Screenshots from a dash cam video showing James Edward Cicco / photo via court motions in the case

“The Defendant then begins to exit the Ford Explorer and raised his hands seeming to concede to the Officer’s authority. However, upon seeing Officer Wijen-Riems deploy the K9 Officer, the Defendant returned to the vehicle cab and closed the door. Officer Wijnen-riems approached the Defendant in a hurried fashion and opened the door, grabbing the Defendant with the assistance of the K9 Officer and dragging him to the ground. The K9 Officer and Officer Wijnen-riems dragged the Defendant a short distance at which time Officer Wijnen-riems attempted to disengage the K9 Officer from the Defendant’s right shoulder. Officer Wijnen-riems then took the K9 Officer back toward the police vehicle and returned to the Defendant who was situated on the ground, next to the Ford Explorer.”

Screenshot from a dash cam video showing James Edward Cicco being bitten / photo via court motions in the case

“The Officer re-approached, closed the door to the Defendant’s vehicle and reached down placing his handcuffs on the Defendant’s right wrist. Officer Wijnen-riems delivered his kneed to the upper back of the Defendant, who was lying flat facing the ground, and grabbed the Defendant’s left wrist, securing the handcuffs. In what appeared in the Dashboard-Camera footage to be an involuntary movement in response to the application of the handcuffs and the Officer’s knee making contact with the Defendant’s back, the Defendant lifted his foot from the ground toward the K9 Officer and the K9 Officer e-engaged the Defendant. Following this, Officer Wijnen-riems disengaged the K9 Officer from its grip upon the Defendant and secured the K9 in the vehicle.”

Screenshots from a dash cam video showing James Edward Cicco being bitten while handcuffed / photo via court motions in the case

Judge Fouse wrote in his analysis that there was no evidence James Cicco intended to resist arrest or taunt a police dog:

“During argument on the Defendant’s motion in this case, the Commonwealth posited that the moment at which the Defendant resisted arrest was when the Officer puts his knee into the Defendant’s back and the Defendant kicked the K9 Officer. The video evidence submitted in this case shows the Defendant laying flat on his stomach when the Officer was attempting to handcuff him; it was at the same time that the Officer delivered his knee to the Defendant’s back, that the Defendant’s foot appears to rise, purportedly in the direction of and striking the K9 Officer. This Court does not find that the Defendant’s ‘kick,’ from a prone position, while being restrained by Officer Wijnen-Riems, created a substantial risk of bodily injury to either Officer Wijnen-Riems or the K9 Officer […]

“The Dashboard-camera video in this case shows that the kick was in direct response to the Officer Wijnen-Riems knee coming into contact with the Defendant’s back. It is the opinion of this Court that the Defendant’s leg movement as displayed on the video was insufficient for the Commonwealth to prove the mens rea [criminal intent] requirement of willfully or maliciously, even assuming that his foot made contact with the K9 Officer.”

James Cicco’s chest after receiving treatment for bite wounds at the hospital / submitted photo

The Beaver Countian has previously published a copy of a recorded phone conversation between Officer Wijnen-riems and a Beaver County 911 Dispatcher which occurred shortly after the incident — the two can be heard making fun of injuries sustained by James Cicco as a result of the police K9 being deployed on him.

The dismissal of charges by Judge Fouse are in addition to dozens of other charges that were previously dismissed at a preliminary hearing held in the case last September. Magisterial District Judge Edward Howe dismissed 50 felony counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance after the District Attorney’s Office advised the court those charges had been filed as the result of a “clerical error.” District Judge Howe also dismissed a felony count of aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer at the time, finding the District Attorney’s Office failed to present any evidence to substantiate the charge.

The remaining charges still pending against James Cicco from the August 19th incident are now limited to summary counts of driving on a suspended license and careless driving, misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, and misdemeanor fleeing or eluding.

“After hearing Officer Wijnen-riems’ testimony, Magistrate Howe dismissed the most serious charge against my client of aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer. After viewing the [police dash cam] video, Judge Fouse dismissed the remaining felony charges in the case,” said defense attorney Gerald Benyo, who is representing James Cicco. “Mr. Cicco will now go to trial, display the video, and allow the jury to determine if it is proper for him to even be sitting in the courthouse as a criminal defendant based upon the conduct of Officer Wijnen-riems. I look forward to taking this case before a jury.”

District Attorney David Lozier has been resisting for months attempts by the Beaver Countian to obtain a copy of the Beaver Police dash cam video for publication, despite well established law codifying the public’s presumptive right to access court exhibits (see Commonwealth v. Upshur), and recent court rulings about dash cam video as public records (see Pennsylvania State Police v Grove). The Beaver Countian is currently in consultation with attorneys on what actions it may take next on the public’s behalf.

Items posted on a Facebook page for Officer Wijnen-riems before it was taken offline

See Also:

RECORDED CALL: Beaver Patrolman And County 911 Dispatcher Laugh While Discussing Man’s Injuries Caused By Police K-9

Beaver Patrolman Testifies He Lied About Pending Criminal Charges To Man Who Tried Filing A Complaint Against Him

127 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for keeping us informed. This dude will still be charged with the driving offenses and the drug charges, and then he’ll sue; but the cop and the dog will proceed unscathed. Once again it will be the taxpayers who will cover the costs of irresponsible police behavior, and a repeat offender lawbreaker.

     
    • Repeat offender or not no citizen should ever be treated with such inhuman torture in the name and I emphasis in the name of law enforcement. Guility or not. That so called police officer gets off on seriously harming people. Spin the wheel Beaver County whos next

       
  2. This is good news for the defendant, especially since he’ll be joining a long list of Beaver County residents to successfully sue the Beaver Police Department because of this ONE cop.

    This is bad news for Beaver County residents, This cop’s file requested by council for exculpatory evidence,will remain safely locked up in the police station. For the time being, this piss poor excuse of a cop will remain on duty.

    Madgar, Really? Is this the best Beaver can do?

     
  3. File the open record request now. This way they have to preserve the video. File the appeal when they deny and let the OOR issue the ruling. Don’t file with the DA because they will issue a ruling. File with local police and the OOR will retain jurisdiction.

     
  4. Now, how much is this going to cost the taxpayers of Beaver to settle the lawsuit that is sure to follow?

     
  5. Looks like we know why Stonewall Lozier didn’t want JP to have this video.

    Why’d you prosecute some one with no evidence Stonewall?

     
  6. This cop needs fired and never be an officer again ,anywhere, if this is his mentality, he’s not safe to carry a badge and gun in public anywhere. If a civilian did this they’d be in prison. Cops are not above the law either. We need to use this as an example to others so no one has to go though this again. I ask that our ELECTED officials come forward now uphold they’re oath to protect citizens whom put them in office now.

     
    • I know. I did a little research. I don’t open my mouth if I don’t know what I’m saying. What I don’t know is why these so called trusted officials whom we VOTED IN to protect citizens from persons like this ( cop or citizen) refuse to fulfill their oaths, Video, history, but still on the beat. Inquest. This county is bias to the core. Get VOTED in ,then not fulfill their oaths to the same public who put them there. I think if a few lose they’re seats others will realize, It’s the people’s government. Let’s see. Too be continued.

       
    • Long story short they don’t care. Cops and dispatch cover each other, supervisors included. This freakin dog ripped a guy’s thoracic cavity open and they’re laughing like a bunch of schoolyard chumps. Politicians are only in it for themselves. When they get threatened they turn to the police to set someone up.

       
  7. Since when does an officer pull a driver out of the vehicle for a summary traffic offense! When most likely, the officer should have continued to respond to the call he originally was going to……yeash!! I thought Beaver Police attended training classes.

     
  8. Keep this cop off the streets on administrative leave until the trial, so that he doesn’t hurt anyone else. Then, pay the inevitable wrongful injury and civil rights violation fines through the insurance company, as before, and then fire him by an act of Council. That’s not so hard, Dan Madgar. It’s the right thing to do. He has become a liability that even you can’t hide anymore. Make up a good story to save face — again. Maybe the many drug busts story. Hell, even give him another commendation. It worked before. But maybe you can think about leaving too. But, it’s ultimately up to you, town Council, if you have the guts this time. Get rid of them both and try to start over with a police force that people can respect again. Beaver town citizens — leave Starbuck’s for one night and go to a Council meeting. Let them know that the 12 of them can be replaced too.

     
  9. Well there you go. Justice was served albeit in completely convoluted way. This defendant is a dirt ball, I get it, I am sure this isn’t the end of his legal problems as long as he’s a substance abuser. However this should have never gone this far. The DA should have bounced this before things even got started. He had the video and viewed it, yet he still chose to prosecute. Then you have PSP stating that the officer did nothing criminal. Ok what was the threshold for that? At a minimum he lied on the criminal filings. Then you have the asshat Madgar protecting a loose cannon. Beaver council has a lot of soul searching to do. This going to cost Beaver Borough a stack of money, not to mention the stain on the lily white facade they place on themselves. This stinks, law enforcement asks the public for their trust. Yet it’s issues like this that makes us question that trust.

     
    • i think because almost every cop in our county hates Lozier so he’s trying to be a holster sniffer getting them to like him but they never will

       
      • @holster sniffer…….. Haha a holster sniffer…….AKA…waist high leather face wapper! Wap on Wap off the wapper!! Careful there lozier he may go for his wapper…haha! Ole lozier..sniffin the holster…dodging the wapper! Afgan clutchin, no integrity, large leather holster lovin lean lanky losier….pickin and choosin this case and that and dodgin the leather! This comment was simply an opinion of Mungo’s that should in no way be construed as anything more than such! Mungo admits he is no Jerry Seinfeld or Sam Kinnison and this is quite obviously an attempt on his part to put into words a small sampling of thoughts that are responsible for keeping Mungo out of any of the nicer advanced learining facilities. BTW great job Judge Fouse!!!

         
  10. IMHO – Beaver PD is now the most corrupt police dept. in the county. That is quite a accomplishment considering they have now beat out Aliquippa, Hopewell Twp. and Ambridge PD’s for this top spot. Now that is something to be proud of people of Beaver.

     
  11. “Oh SNAP! That F’n judge just dismissed all major charges on that f’n crack head!
    Now this asshole crack head going to sue the shit out of me!
    Now this asshole dog just shit on the court house lawn!
    WTF!!!!”

     
    • look at this guy ready for combat . At least hes not wearing the uniforms that the sheriffs Dept deputies wear they look like little girls in leotards. really something to respect.

       
    • my man your not a beast lion or otherwise. your a VULTURE who preys on the weak. And you fit right in with the rats you run with But with if worse comes to worse you can allways get a job with the Beaver County Sheriffs Dept

       
  12. The cop doesn’t belong on the force. abuse of power if I ever saw one…..can’t blame the dog it was trained to be that way…. this cop just wanted a chance to use this animal in this manner.. sue the cop.. side the Beaver PD, and she the Police Union. Who support this pig.. that’s what he is a pig.. there are some good police officers out there.. but more bad then Good..they think they’re gods.. thugs with badges.. license to kill.. and they all stick together.. they’re a gang.. and they all think there above the law.. till they get caught..good cops get fired for standing up. Corrupt cops get promoted.. rant over

     
  13. Chief Madgar, by keeping this guy in your department, is doing a disservice to the guys like Opsanik, King. Kasely, Rose, Rini and Snowden. From what I can see, the citizens of Beaver, Vanport and Industry fear this officer. Many people I know avoid him at all costs.

     
  14. I am a huge fan of yours JP, but to continuously describe this man’s injuries from the dog as gruesome is the definition of sensationalism. Come on JP. It is a dog bite, and it is not even a bad dog bite. It is not like this man was completely mauled by the dog. That would be gruesome. Obviously, your threshold for gruesome is really low.

     
    • If all people had good recall from one article to the next, the repetition might be seen as excessive, gratuitous. But they don’t. How many people can recall the origins of this cop’s first abusive conduct ten years ago or tell-tale Facebook postings? Yes, it’s sickening, but if it helps organize people to fire him, it is worth it.

      News footage of nerve-gassed men, women and children killed, convulsing and horribly dying in Syria led to a very large missle counterattack attack, and likely a war. Sometimes “shock” value gets results. Bad stuff happens, and it shouldn’t be hidden. Just warn people about it, so they can choose whether to view it or not.

       
      • Look at that wound — ten or 12 inches higher — an easy, quick turn of the dog’s head in that volatile situation — could have severed major neck arteries and veins. Given that profuse bleed out, unavailable medical intervention and the time line given, the guy likely would have died. The cop is “lucky”, in that this could have been a preventable wrongful death. Goodbye dog, hello jail for this sadistic, out-of-control cop.

         
      • “It’s bad, it’s the worst one I’ve seen,” said Wijnen-riems on the recorded phone call, characterizing the way his K-9 tore flesh from Cicco’s body. “There’s a hole, like, you can see almost into his chest.”

        “You better take him for a steak when you’re done, you hear me,” responds Sabol.

        Officer Wijnen-riems continued describing the injuries to Cicco, “I knew it was bad when, I could see like, meat on the outside of his shirt.”

         
  15. Not one word about this in the Times. What does that tell you? 20 years ago Lori DeLauter would have been all over this like ugly on a gorilla. Instead we have Scott Tady on Bon Jovi and hummus with Islam. Speaking of Dogs Scott. How about cleaning up after your dog when he shits on the sidewalk in Beaver when you walk him in the morning. Don’t let Weingen-rimes catch you.

     
  16. @Mr. Benyo -Why have we not heard one word from Madgar ? Where is he on this issue, and this Ruling by Judge Fouse?
    FMI- Keeping a known offender on the police force, does Madgar have any responsibility.
    Thank You John Paul, Judge Fouse, and Attorney Benyo.

     
  17. Attention Beaver Parents- it’s my understanding that this is the officer and the dog that was just recently hired to search your child’s school while the kids are there.. Can someone confirm?

     
  18. Boys because he didn’t.. which shows the cop made a false police report claim against this man that wasn’t true. …there are cops out there that single out certain people and harass them.. this cop is one of those.. must wonder how many others he has targeted and done this to.. making false claims against.. the magistrates always believe the cops.. Beaver Falls PD has them on their force that do this..not all just a few.. but remember that thin blue line…

     
  19. The officer and the dispatcher should both be fired for total disregard of human rights, civil rights, excessive force and disrespect in general for public safety. I wonder how many other citizens they have laughed and joked about when in a critical situation. Poking fun at the very people that provide them with a paycheck, health care, and a pension. Both of those sick fucks should be included in a suit along with the Beaver Boro and the Chief. I hope Benyo bankrupts all those sons a bitches.

     
  20. It’s Amateur Hour once again in Beaver County. Now he is going to get paid and can spend the money wisely. Get the NARCAN ready.

     
    • At least Hitler had the sense to name his dog Blondie. He loved dogs But we all know what he thought of his fellow human beings. Heil the beaver County sheriffs Dept. Beaver Aliquippa sheriffs Dept. Insane.

       
  21. The sentence that really begs for an explanation “An investigation into the incident by the Pennsylvania State Police found no criminal wrongdoing on the part of the officer.”

     
    • Some of the local state cops are friends with some of these people. Just different labels for buddies who bend elbows together. Surprise!

       
    • The sheriffs Dept. And other county agencies are not keystone cops.They can and do serious damage to citizens of Beaver County. If they perceive you as one of there enemies. YOU are not safe if you are not aware what they are truly capable of. what if they don’t like the way you walk talk chew your gum the way you vote. What if you get ill end up in the hospital? Think your safe think again. Think your safe getting your prescription filled at the pharmacy you can be red flagged on many pharmacies computers and the pharmacy will serve you up with a smile on his face. The med center should be called The Dr. Mengele Med center. Oh yes the first thing those Drs involved will say with great indignation I TOOK AN OATH. Well not to long ago DR. Joseph Mengele and about 200,oo of his fellows took the very same oath and it didn’t stand in there way one little bit.

       
      • Sorry about being so honest something like this is the last thing people want to hear. Sometimes the truth is just so unbearable. Personally I wish id never seen any of this. But sooner or later TRUTH allways wins one way or another. Didn’t mean to frieghton anyone but this is theTRUTH.

         
  22. Judge Foust, thank you. You do not have an easy job deciding people’s fate, whether or not they truly did what officers say. For that, you are amazing. However, my question is, what is going to happen to this cop? I think immediate dismissal of him, and his laughing buddy is well below the balance. He needs some jail time himself. Falsifying evidence, lying under oath, unnecessary actions, possible intent to harm or victimize an otherwise innocent person… Just to name a few.

     
  23. Repeat offender. As a taxpay in Beaver County, I want to see this offending officer disciplined, or terminated if neccassary. That dog is dangerous, I would not be opposed to euthenization, especially if it were to happen again.

     
  24. We The People: If Wijnen-Riems and his attack dog being hired by the Beaver School District is true, it is some of the worst information in this article. Who would allow this mentally ill, out-of-control, historically dangerous criminal around children? And the poorly trained dog?! That’s not Lassie. Like the chemical attack on children in Syria, it is a Red Line of no return. That is something I have to investigate, and if true, the school board will have to be held accountable for it. I know some of those people, and the administration, and I cant believe that they could make such an irresponsible blind decision. My guess? Madgar sweet talked them into a sucker deal based on Ken Stahl’s good reputation to boost man hours and revenues. Run a crooked police force, but leave the children alone.

     
  25. in this scenario where they have the recording between the police officer and another person and have a dash cam, will the town of beaver be financially responsible for medical care, pain/suffering, etc.? Can the private citizen sue the city?

     
  26. No criminal wrongdoing huh how about this officer lets me release my Dobermans on him while he’s f****** handcuffed that scumbag piece of s*** should never wear a f****** badge as long as he f****** he lives

     
  27. In any town the council and the mayor has a responsibility to represent the citizens that elected them, regardless of their own personal view or opinions. They do not do this. The majority of the citizens want this nutcase cop gone. It is their job to serve the people and do the deed and get the job done.

     
  28. Time for the people of Beaver to speak up about this thug once and for all. Fire him and lying John Joe and dump Magdar’s enabling ass too. Clean house and start fresh. This kid is going to get a pile of cash in his lawsuit, screwing the taxpayers these pieces of shit are supposed to represent.

     
  29. John Q. Taxpayer: Beaver’s figurehead mayor has no real power or authority. That resides in Madgar. But thinking back to Hamilton’s placing officer Sergeant Kenneth McCoy on unpaid administrative suspension in October 2012, only four years ago, after a woman obtained a Protection From Abuse order against him for harassment, makes one wonder how a much more serious matter like this can go without any action at all, even obstruction. He is even being farmed out to the local school district to make money in his own Dog and Pony show. At the same time, in 2012, Wijnen-Riems was just getting warmed up attacking people, with their suing him for abuse of authority and even getting money for their troubles. I think we know the answer to why he leads a charmed life. Apparently, problems in one’s personal life are more dangerous than attacking the public?

     
    • I think the two worse things they can do is 1) keeping him on the job, and 2) allowing him in schools around children. I tell you, this is a tragedy of epic proportions waiting to happen. Keeping him on the job will result in a tragic death for some citizen or innocent bystander sooner or later, be it by a shooting or a high speed chase over a minor offense. Anyone can predict that.

       
      • Well, John Q., it scares the hell out of me to think Psycho Cop might take his uncontrollable dog into a school. I’m going to follow that, and if he goes near a school where I have small relatives, I’ll stand in the damn doorway and block his entry. Maybe a little civil disobedience with a publicized disorderly conduct arrest might focus attention on the madness. Children are not negotiable pawns in this travesty.

         

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