Officer Matt Mistretta, a decorated police officer without a blemish on his sterling record, is facing SEVEN YEARS in prison. Why? For arresting a suspected murderer.
At 1 a.m. in the morning on August 21, 2020, Matt was outside his patrol car, talking to other officers at a supermarket, when he saw a white truck blow by at highway speeds on the local road. The truck was going so fast that trash boxes were being ejected from the back of it. So Matt and another officer got in their respective vehicles and gave chase. Matt got behind the truck, turned on his cruiser lights, and the truck slowed and eventually stopped, but not before almost swerving into oncoming traffic.
Matt and his fellow officer got out of their vehicles to approach the truck and its two passengers when they heard a message over the emergency frequency: there was a shooting victim across town, and backup was urgently needed. So Matt’s backup officer left to go to the shooting, and Matt was left alone with two suspects in the truck. Losing his backup made this felony traffic stop a lot more dangerous because it was now two-on-one for Matt.
A few minutes after Matt’s backup left, a second message went out over the emergency frequency that the driver of the truck that Matt had stopped was wanted in connection with the shooting that just happened.
So Matt was there alone, facing two suspects who may have just fled a murder scene and who may be armed and dangerous.
Though he was alone, Matt knew he had to proceed with the arrest. So he unholstered his gun and began felony traffic stop procedures to get the driver out of the truck first. The driver had no shirt on, was bleeding, and smelled of alcohol. The driver also began yelling, “my girlfriend jumped in the Watervliet” over and over again. The driver was not coherent. Matt opened the driver’s side door while training his gun on the passenger and began to get the driver out of the truck so that Matt could cuff him. As Matt tried to put the driver in handcuffs, the driver resisted and became irritated that Matt was cuffing him.
Finally, Matt got the handcuffs on the driver and took him to the hood of his cruiser. That’s when the driver began struggling, so Matt put the driver on the ground to regain control of the situation. Matt put his knee on the driver’s back so Matt could keep his eye on the passenger.
Matt ordered the passenger to come out and to the back of the truck, and he complied.
Soon, backup arrived, and Matt was able to take both men into custody without further incident.
That driver has been convicted of killing a 17-year-old who, it turns out, was not shot but run over by the truck.
That’s the whole story. And yet Matt has been charged with one felony and two misdemeanor charges that could land him in prison for seven years.
Matt is being charged with assault for putting the driver on the ground “too roughly” after the driver tried to escape his handcuffs. That’s the alleged assault. The suspected murderer has NEVER FILED A COMPLAINT about his treatment by Matt, nor did the suspected murderer report any bruises, scrapes or abrasions from the arrest.
Matt arrested a suspected murderer in a completely professional manner and caused no injuries to the murderer… and yet an anti-cop Attorney General wants to put Matt on trial.
Please help us support and defend Officer Mistretta against these bogus chag. Your donation to National Center for Police Defense will help cover Matt’s legal fees and everything else that goes into surviving a prosecutorial hit job like this one.