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A New York police officer who began filing reports in May 2022 alleging her colleagues had been sending her vulgar, menacing text messages has been accused of sending the messages to herself.
Emily Hirshowitz, a 36-year-old officer with the Ossining Police Department, was charged last Wednesday with four counts of third-degree falsely reporting an incident and three counts of first-degree filing a false instrument, The New York Post reported. The false instrument charge is a felony, which comes from her allegedly filing a report with the intent to defraud.
In May 2022, Hirshowitz filed a report with the Westchester District Attorney’s Office claiming she had received threatening text messages from multiple numbers. On May 4, Hirshowitz claimed “that a fellow police officer or multiple police officers at my department are involved,” according to the criminal complaint obtained by the Westchester Journal News.
Then in July and August, she filed more complaints, giving investigators screenshots of long, expletive-filled messages she said her colleagues sent to her phone. The messages urged her to commit suicide and called her a slew of cruel names, including “useless,” “reject,” and a “dumb [expletive],” the Post reported.
Her superiors and other local officials, alarmed by the “increasingly threatening content” of the messages, also reached out to the DA to implore her to investigate further.
After this, on August 12, Hirshowitz told authorities she wanted to drop the complaint. But investigators continued, with Police Chief Kevin Sylvester calling a department-wide meeting on August 23 to discuss the case. In addition to police officers, the Ossining mayor and other local officials were invited to attend the meeting, the Journal News reported.
Investigators quickly suspected Hirshowitz herself was behind the messages and issued a search warrant for her phone and digital accounts in October 2022. The evidence they obtained showed that she was connected to several of the phone numbers that had sent threatening messages, meaning she likely sent them to herself, according to prosecutors.
But not all the numbers were connected to Hirshowitz. Prosecutors alleged in the criminal complaint that another number was found to belong to somebody known to the DA’s office, though they didn’t elaborate further. That number sent three text messages to Hirshowitz.
Former Ossining police officer Louis Rinaldi, who resigned earlier this year due to separate disciplinary charges, is thought to be Hirshowitz’s accomplice in the matter. His name was reportedly brought up several times during the investigation, the Journal News reported, and his attorney said he was the subject of an investigation.
“There’s a lot of mystery and confusion surrounding the allegations in this case and we’ll evaluate as we learn more,” Hirshowitz’s attorney, Paul DerOhannesian, told the Journal News.
Hirshowitz has been suspended with pay and is scheduled to appear at the White Plains City Court on July 12.