A suburban New York police officer who had filed multiple complaints about receiving threatening text messages from her colleagues was recently arrested after investigators discovered that she was the one responsible for sending the messages all along.
Emily Hirshowitz, a 36-year-old officer from the Ossining Police Department, now faces charges related to falsely reporting an incident and filing a false instrument.
The bizarre incident began in May, when Hirshowitz filed a report with the Westchester District Attorney’s Office, in which she claimed she was receiving anonymous threatening text messages from multiple numbers.
Hirshowitz asserted that fellow police officers within her department were involved in sending her the expletive-filled messages. Some of the texts reportedly urged her to commit suicide and used derogatory language to demean her.
Alarmed by the increasingly threatening nature of the messages, police and local officials reached out to the District Attorney’s Office to investigate further. Despite Hirshowitz’s attempt to drop the complaint in August, her superiors remained concerned.
A department-wide meeting was even called in August by Police Chief Kevin Sylvester, with the participation of the Ossining mayor and other local officials, to address the issue.
However, investigators soon began to suspect Hirshowitz’s involvement, and by October, they obtained a search warrant for her phone and digital accounts. The evidence discovered during the investigation indicated that Hirshowitz was in control of several phone numbers associated with the threatening messages, suggesting she had sent them to herself.
The department brought charges against Hirshowitz, who was subsequently arrested and suspended with pay.
In the criminal complaint, another undisclosed individual known to the District Attorney’s Office appeared to have sent three of the text messages, according to screenshots obtained from Hirshowitz’s computer.
In addition, Louis Rinaldi, a former Ossining police officer who had resigned earlier in the year due to separate disciplinary charges, was implicated as a possible accomplice to Hirshowitz.
Rinaldi’s attorney, Michael Santangelo, confirmed that his client was under investigation.
Hirshowitz, who had been named the Rotary Club of Ossining’s 2018 Employee of the Year, joined the police department in 2016.
Hirshowitz’s attorney, Paul DerOhannesian, expressed confusion regarding the allegations, saying, “There’s a lot of mystery and confusion surrounding the allegations in this case, and we’ll evaluate as we learn more.”
Hirshowitz is scheduled to appear at the White Plains City Court on July 12 to face charges of offering a false instrument for filing and falsely reporting an incident.
Hirshowitz resides in Peekskill and had previously served in the New Rochelle Police Department for two years before joining the Ossining Police Department. The case continues to unfold as authorities delve further into the circumstances surrounding the alleged hoax threats.