DPS awaits OAG decision on two cops


The Department of Public Safety only assigned to desk jobs the two police officers who were caught on video beating a habitual offender who engaged police officers in a car chase that ended in a crash.

Public Safety Commissioner Robert A. Guerrero also said Friday that the result of their criminal investigation has already been forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General and that they are still waiting for an update from the OAG.

“Like everybody else, I am still waiting to see what will happen,” Guerrero said, adding that it was a joint investigation by DPS and the OAG.

The commissioner said the two officers were not suspended but were given administrative duties and are not out patrolling the streets.

“I cannot keep the police officers in limbo,” Guerrero said.

He refused to divulge the identity of the two officers.

According to court documents, on Dec. 1, 2016 on Saipan, Vincent San Nicolas Norita, 32, stole a vehicle owned by Jeju Airlines. In the evening of Dec. 9, 2016, Norita drove the car at high speeds while eluding police officers, disobeying traffic signs, failing to signal, and driving with a wanton disregard to safety.

Norita drove the car at a speed of over 100 miles per hour from Chalan Laulau to Garapan, to Tanapag, back to Garapan, Chinatown, Chalan Laulau, and to Koblerville where he eventually crashed at an embankment in Koblerville in the evening of Dec. 9, 2016. The car overturned.

The 40-minute car chase went viral after a bystander took a video of a police officer, who appeared to be hitting Norita repeatedly with a baton or stick as he lay on the ground.

Police said that Norita’s car, a white 2011 Toyota Yaris four-door sedan with license plate ADZ-841, was speeding and nearly hit several pedestrians during the pursuit.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services disclosed that upon medics’ assessment at the scene, the driver, Norita, stated he had pain on the back of his right shoulder blade.

DFEMS said Norita, who was uncooperative, also sustained three small cuts on the forehead and a half-inch cut on the left leg.

Last month, Norita pleaded guilty to 18 traffic offenses and was slapped with the maximum sentence of nine years imprisonment.

Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho noted that Norita has prior convictions for robbery and burglary.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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