Owner/Editor of the Times of Wayne County newspaper
September 3, 2012 2:50 PM ET
As a filmmaker, writer and activist exposing police misconduct and corruption, my work has been featured in countless print media publications including magazines, newspapers, etc., as well as on television.
And of course my work can be found throughout the internet by simply Googling words such as "Davy V." or "Davy V. Police Brutality".
My work is controversial.
How can it not be?
Exposing those who have taken a sworn oath to protect and serve, then have turned around and broken that oath by harassing, intimidating, profiling, abusing and in some cases even murdering innocent people, and people's pets, has come with a price.
I have been arrested for my work, like the time I exposed a dirty, corrupt Rochester, NY Police officer named Thomas Rodriguez who beat Lawrence Rogers, a mentally ill man in a Wegmans supermarket parking lot.
Rogers was pronounced dead an hour after the beating.
Rodriguez filed harassment charges against me when he learned that I had featured a video of him beating Rogers in one of my films "R.P.D.: Badges of Dishonor, Corruption and Murder!"
Or the time when I led a rally against Rochester's WHAM radio host Bob Lonsberry back in 2004 after he called former African-American Rochester, NY Mayor William Johnson, an "orangutan."
Susan Ashline, a former WHAM reporter and now a struggling columnist for Rochester's Democrat and Chronicle newspaper tried to have me arrested at that rally, calling the Rochester Police on me and telling them she wanted me arrested because she "felt intimidated" by the way I was yelling and holding a sign which read "WHAM IS RACIST" in front of her.
It was a protest rally.
That's what people do at a protest rally.
They yell and hold signs.
I laughed when the Rochester Police basically told her to go kick rocks because I wasn't breaking any laws.
The next day, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle newspaper's front page featured the headline "WHAM Fires Lonsberry as Host."
Underneath the headline, two photos.
One of me calling out WHAM radio station at the rally.
The other photo, Bob Lonsberry with his daughters.
Almost a year to the date WHAM rehired Lonsberry, as it turned out that his firing was nothing more than a PR move to let things cool down.
Regardless, the pressure I put on WHAM worked, as he was off the air for an entire year.
Years later, Lonsberry, still seething from my relentless campaign which led to his year off, wrote a letter to Rochester, NY Mayor Thomas Richards suggesting, in ever so subtle, carefully selected words telling the Mayor that he should have the Rochester, NY Police department "attack" me, and that it should be a "tactical attack", after I exposed the corrupt RPD's retaliation against innocent citizens who attended a meeting in support of Emily Good, the Rochester, NY woman who made international news after she had her constitutional rights violated when she was arrested by Rochester, NY Police officer Mario Masic after she videotaped Masic and other white RPD cops conducting a racially profiled traffic stop of a black motorist in front of her home.
So, as you can see, my work does exactly what it is intended to do, it not only exposes rogue, corrupt cops, and their illegal actions, but it also does something else.
It hits a nerve.
And as a filmmaker, writer and activist exposing police misconduct and corruption, that's exactly what I want.
To hit a nerve.
On August 15, 2012 Wayne County, NY Sheriff's deputies, along with Macedon, NY Police broke into
75 year old Phyllis Loquasto's Plank Road home in the town of Walworth, NY, forced her at gunpoint to lay on her bathroom floor, screamed at her to close her eyes and stay down, then shot her dog "Duke."
The cops, who were all dressed in black and had masks on, let Duke die a slow death as he bled out all over Loquasto's home, leaving a trail of blood throughout the house, on walls, hallways and on the bed where he used to sleep in, and eventually, died on.
The cops were all members of the WayneNET drug task force, a group comprised of area law enforcement officers from several surrounding towns, including Macedon, NY.
Macedon, NY Police Chief John P. Colella is the WayneNET task force commander, and is said to have been the one who shot "Duke."
Simply put, 75 year old Phyllis Loquasto was terrorized by these rogue thugs with uniforms who pointed guns and yelled at a grandmother, executed her loving pet, then placed her inside a hot police car before showing her a search warrant and tearing her home apart.
Loquasto was so afraid, she urinated on herself.
And all over a few marijuana plants which Chief Colella claims were recovered.
After being contacted by someone who told me of this incident, my first thought was to contact Macedon, NY Police Chief and WayneNET task force commander John P. Colella.
As a citizen-journalist, who writes for at least two publications as well as contributes to several internet sites, I asked the woman who answered the phone at the Macedon, NY Police department for their public information officer.
The woman asked me "What's that?"
I'm not sure why, but for a split second, before answering her question, I thought of the movie 'Deliverance', and thought to myself could it really be possible that this town was so small that this woman didn't know what a public information officer was?
When I explained to her what a PIO was, she said "We don't have that."
I left a message for the Chief, and about an hour later he called me back.
After thanking the Chief for getting back to me, he laughed and said "The media campaign continues."
The Chief's comment was a sign that he knew they had screwed up.
Chief Colella was extremely unprofessional at one point saying "I don't care if she is 2 years old or 75 years old", when I asked him about his officers holding down a 75 year old woman who has had several strokes and a knee replacement, on her bathroom floor at gunpoint.
After speaking to Chief Colella, I wrote a piece on my blog about the home invasion style raid of a 75 year old grandmother's home, and the story on my blog immediately took off!
Less than 2 hours later, the story had 500 views and to date, just a few days after I posted the story on my blog, it has generated more than 15,000 views with readers from all over the United States and overseas, from as far away as Japan and the U.K. reading about Chief John P. Colella and his band of criminals with badges.
I reached out to every news media outlet and none of them were interested in reporting this injustice.
You see, it's a known fact that mainstream media is often reluctant to do stories exposing police misconduct, abuse and corruption.
Most people don't realize that mainstream media and news channels, have a very close relationship with law enforcement.
They rely on law enforcement as part of their day to day job. Law enforcement gives news channels press releases, leads on stories, etc. Therefore, news media outlets are very careful in reporting on police misconduct, abuse and corruption because in essence, news channels don't want to "bite the hand that feeds them." So they often choose to "stay away" from reporting negative stories about local law enforcement.
Enter Ron Holdraker, a man with a B.A. in Journalism from Syracuse University and who along with his wife, Patricia Holdraker, who holds a B.A. in English literature from Syracuse as well, own the Times of Wayne County newspaper, an insignificant small weekly publication available at gas stations and other non-descript locations throughout Wayne County, NY.
In the Times' September 2nd issue, Holdraker, who is also the editor, and who writes a column called "In This Corner", wrote a piece titled "Why David Vara is Full of Crap."
David Vara is my government name, Davy V. or Davy Vara are my professional names as a filmmaker, writer and activist.
Holdraker's op/ed piece starts off sounding like a law enforcement press release, not surprising since in his piece he writes "Although this newspaper is pro-law enforcement", and even less surprising is that many have told me that Holdraker is not only friends with Macedon, NY Police Chief John P. Colella, but also with the cops who terrorized a 75 year old grandmother, Phyllis Loquasto.
Perhaps Stephen Martin, who commented on Ron Holdraker's piece said it best, "Thank you for publicly admitting that you do not even make the slightest pretense of journalistic objectivity. Mr. Holdraker, I understand the desire to please your advertisers and the other Rotary Club members to which the owner of a weekly... ehem, 'newspaper'... must kowtow. But please do not criticize those who actually do the job of a journalist -- that is, finding information and printing it", Martin posted on the Times of Wayne County website.
Really? The whole "crew" felt bad about the shooting huh? So bad that they allowed an innocent dog to suffer a cruel, inhumane and slow death as it squirmed around the inside of the house in pain, blood gushing out of its side, until the innocent dog finally bled out and died on the same bed it slept on every night next to its owner?
So bad that they never cared to get this innocent, beautiful dog any medical help?
As I continued to read, it didn't take me long to realize that Ron Holdraker is a bootlicking, cops can do no wrong, cop lover.
Frankly, I'm not surprised.
However, what did surprise me is was that as the owner and editor of a newspaper, albeit, a small one, I would think at the very least Mr. Holdraker would have been somewhat interested in doing some background fact finding on his subject (me), before writing about me, but he wasn't and as is clear in his piece where he calls me "a piece of crap", he didn't do any reasearch.
For had Ron Holdraker Googled my name, he would have seen that I'm much more than just "a Rochester activist" as he wrote.
My work has been featured in dozens of print publications such as THE SOURCE Magazine, a magazine with a monthly circulation of approximately 800,000 and a total readership of 4.5 million monthly.
I have produced two award-winning short films (R.P.D. EXPOSED! and R.P.D.: Badges of Dishonor, Corruption and Murder!) about the Rochester, NY Police department and their long history of misconduct, corruption and killing of innocent people.
My films have been screened at several venues including at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey.
Both films are available on the internet as is all my other work, interviews, protests, etc.
As a writer, I not only write op/ed pieces for Minority Reporter and La Voz newspapers, but I also contribute to several sites, including Copblock.org. I also write a blog: davyv.blogspot.org.
And, I have a passion for exposing injustices, including police misconduct and corruption, which mainstream, corporate-run news media outlets choose to ignore.
Perhaps, in what may be the most ironic statement in Ron Holdraker's piece is where he writes "He (David Vara) wrote his miscreant description of the story for a anti-cop website copblock.org, this is a place where nameless people can go, send in their “reports” and post responses (anonymous of course)."
Contrary to what Ron Holdraker writes in his piece, Copblock.org is not a "cop hating" site.
Mr. Holdraker, not only as an editor and an owner of a newspaper but also as a journalist, who holds a B.A. in "journalism", had you taken just 5 minutes to research before writing your cop loving, bootlicking piece, you would have went to the Cop Block site, clicked "about" and read the following:
"Cop Block is a decentralized project supported by a diverse group of individuals united by their shared goal of police accountability... We do not “hate cops.” We believe that no one – not even those with badges – has extra rights. The failure to realize and act on that is to our detriment. By focusing the disinfecting light of transparency on public officials we safeguard not just our rights but those of future generations..."
Interesting how Ron Holdraker used the word "miscreant" in describing the story I wrote about the incident for Cop Block.
The definition of the word "miscreant" is an "Evil doer, a villain, a person who behaves badly or in a way that breaks the law."
Sounds like the word "miscreant" perfectly describes the actions of the WayneNET cops who terrorized an elderly woman, forced her at gunpoint to lay on her bathroom floor, executed her loving pet and companion, ramsacked her home, then stuck her in a hot police car where she urinated on herself.
But my favorite part of Ron Holdraker's piece is where he writes "Macedon Chief John Colella received over 50 e-mails blasting his handling of the nasty search warrant and as of Tuesday morning, two very nasty phone calls to his office. The Town Board even received an e-mail asking for Colella’s dismissal and Macedon Town Supervisor Bill Hammond received a call on Tuesday stating the caller was “afraid” while talking to the Chief on the phone."
It's obvious my piece "75 Year Old Grandmother Held Down at Gunpoint on Bathroom Floor by Wayne County, NY Sheriff's deputies and Macedon, NY Police as they Shoot and Kill her Dog." hit a nerve.
It sure hit a nerve with Chief Colella.
And it hit a nerve with the thousands who have read about this injustice committed against an elderly woman, by a bunch of rouge cops dressed like terrorists.
And it obviously hit a nerve with Ron Holdraker.
So much so, that he wrote about me in his little newspaper, which by the way, only has 1,013 "Likes" on facebook, while Copblock has 25,360.
This morning I got on the internet and started calling stores in the Wayne County area.
I had read the online version of Mr. Holdraker's story, but I wanted to get an actual paper copy of the Times.
The first few people I called laughed when I asked if they carried the Times of Wayne County newspaper, before saying they did not sell the paper.
One lady, who answered the phone at The Little Country Store in Macedon, NY, laughed then said "No we don't sell that."
But I was determined to find a copy.
After being on the road for about a half hour, I pulled into a Kwik Fil gas station on Walworth Penfield Rd. to get gas, and whattaya know?
There it was.
The Times of Wayne County.
So Mr. Holdraker, if you monitor your newspaper's sales, and you see a transaction for 5 newspapers sold on Labor Day morning, that was me helping your paper sell a few copies.
Oh, and say hi to Chief Colella for me.
Link to my original story: 75 Year Old Grandmother Held Down at Gunpoint on Bathroom Floor by Wayne County, NY Sheriff's deputies and Macedon, NY Police as they Shoot and Kill her Dog.
Link to Ron Holdraker's story: Why David Vara is Full of Crap
Contact Times of Wayne County Owner/Editor Ron Holdraker at
(315) 986-4300 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE: Almost a month after this incident, the Rochester, N.Y. Democrat and Chronicle newspaper is doing a story.
Reporter Justin Murphy told me that a friend of his sent him an email with the link to this blog, my original story on this case, and that the editors at the newspaper decided to do a story.
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