Shwarz was convicted by a jury in April of obstruction of administrative law, unsworn falsification to authorities, filing false reports, false imprisonment and official oppression. Shwarz roughed up and arrested Dominic Catalano on March 4, 2010, in the parking lot of the U-Haul facility on Roosevelt Boulevard near Ryan Avenue.
Shwarz and his partner were called to the business by Catalano, who asked the officers to remove a truck from the police database of stolen vehicles because it had been found and returned, according to trial testimony.
When the officers said that they could not remove the truck from the database because it had been recovered in Delaware County, an argument ensued. When Catalano tried to write down the license-plate number on their patrol car, Shwarz grabbed him by the throat, slammed him into a door and took him to the ground.
Shwarz charged him with aggravated assault, but a police Internal Affairs investigation found that the officer had been the aggressor and the District Attorney's Office declined to prosecute after seeing what really happened, thanks to U-Haul surveillance video. Trent said that Catalano would have been convicted of assaulting the cop "if not for the video."
"Extremely excessive," defense attorney Gerald Stanshine said of the sentence, which he said he would appeal because the most Shwarz should have received for the misdemeanor convictions is probation, given his previously clean record.
Assistant District Attorney Irina Ehrlich said the sentence was appropriate because Shwarz "perpetrated a fraud on all of us. He poisoned the well of justice," she said. "The criminal-justice system depends on the trustfulness of police officers. If they're not telling us the truth, then the whole system is corrupt."
Catalano and his wife, Lauren, both made statements asking that Shwarz be punished and calling the day of incident the worst of their lives.
Contact Mensah M. Dean at 215-568-8278 or email@example.com.