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Police encourage NY man to break into ex-girlfriend's home; ex arrested

Posted at 12:48 AM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 00:48:25-04

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC/CNN) – A New York woman’s attorney argues that the behavior of police officers, who encouraged the woman’s ex-boyfriend to break into her home and retrieve his belongings, was unconstitutional.

Body-worn camera video shows the moments leading up to Catherine Bonner’s arrest in November at her Rochester, NY, home.

"I've never seen this… hopefully, the reason is this is not happening, that this is not how most police officers would advise somebody in a situation like this,” said Bonner’s attorney, David Pilato.

In the video, Bonner’s ex-boyfriend, escorted by police, is encouraged to break into her house to retrieve his things. He then breaks one of her windows.

Bonner screams that she feels unsafe and points a gun out of the broken window.

The woman was later arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon and menacing a police officer.

Pilato argues the behavior of the officers was unconstitutional.

"I think, for the most part, you show up to a situation where a boyfriend is trying to retrieve property from an ex-girlfriend and she doesn’t want to open the door, it's a purely civil matter. Take it up in small claims court and see if you can resolve it in some other way,” Pilato said.

After this incident, the Rochester Police Department sent out a bulletin to its officers, specifically ordering them to not encourage anyone to break into a house because there is no way to prove on scene that it is, in fact, their house.

Bonner is scheduled to return to court June 4.

Copyright 2018 WROC, Rochester Police via CNN. All rights reserved.