Man gets 8 years for 2018 assault on PEF parole officers
ALBANY, NY (10/15/2019) (readMedia)-- Justice took over a year, but finally came, for two PEF parole officers when a 39-year-old man was sentenced in State Supreme Court to eight years in prison and five years post-release supervision stemming from a Feb. 27, 2018 incident that left both officers injured and the man shot.
PEF parole officers Robert Montesano and Bernard Williams were performing a routine residence visit when the defendant, Randy White, sitting in the driver's seat of a vehicle with the parolee the officers sought, refused their requests to provide identification.
According to the Erie County District Attorney's Office (DA), the officers spotted what they believed to be a gun in the center console and initiated an investigation. The defendant attempted to drive away, dragging one officer alongside the vehicle and trapping the other in the vehicle.
"The officers suffered physical injuries while making their escape from the vehicle," the DA's office said in a press release announcing the sentence. "While trying to gain control over the defendant, one of the parole officers shot the defendant in the leg."
Following the altercation, White gave multiple interviews to local media claiming the parole officers had "tried to kill" him.
His remarks triggered a lengthy investigation by the Buffalo Police Department, resulting in felony charges and a jury finding him guilty of two counts of second-degree assault, class D felonies, and one count of first-degree unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a class A misdemeanor, on July 18, 2019.
"We looked at all angles to this, and talked to all sides," District Attorney John F. Flynn told The Buffalo News. "Based on the evidence, I find that these two parole officers did nothing wrong. They clearly identified themselves as officers and wore vests clearly marked with the word 'Police.'
"They were reacting to a dangerous situation that caused injuries to both officers, and the officers thought that Mr. White had a gun in his car," the report continued.
"They used the amount of force that was necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to themselves or others," said PEF President Wayne E. Spence, who also is a state parole officer on Long Island. "Had a New York State parole officer not fired a shot, you would be talking about two law enforcement officers who may not be with us today."