Police launch an internal investigation into its response to Rispoli assault/murder
By Christian Murray and Bill Parry
The police have launched an internal investigation into how its officers handled the case involving the brutal assault of a Woodside man who died 5 days later from the injuries he sustained.
The investigation is looking into the police’s response to a crime that led to the death of Lou Rispoli, a Woodside man who was struck in the back of the head outside 41-00 43rd Ave. in Sunnyside at about 2:15 am Saturday Oct 20. While the police arrived shortly after the incident, it took 36 hours before a crime scene vehicle showed up to conduct a thorough investigation.
Inspector Detective Donald Powers, who spoke at the Police Precinct 108 meeting on Tuesday, said that he called Internal Affairs to look into the matter since “I had concerns that we could have done more.”
Powers said “there were some issues–primarily how [the 108 police] patrol responded.” He said he wasn’t aware of the incident until the day after the fatal attack.
Powers would not elaborate on what prompted him to call for the internal investigation, saying he would only provide details on the matter when “internal affairs briefs me with all the facts.”
He did say that a crime vehicle unit is typically called in soon after a victim is seriously injured or a murder has taken place.
Rispoli, a 62-year-old gay man, had been out for a walk at 2:00 am when he was attacked by three men in a white car, police said. One of them used a blunt instrument to hit Rispoli, leaving him on the street.
In terms of the murder case, Powers said he is extremely confident that the police will find the perpetrators. “We have some leads that we can’t talk about…and we just ask for a little patience.”
He said the police have had to work with a number of different agencies to gather the evidence it needs. “There is some frustration as people may not see the progress behind the scenes.”
He said he has been involved in numerous homicide investigations for more than 25 years and is very confident an arrest will be made. “We just ask for a little patience.”