A state judge who says he was assaulted by a police officer is accusing the Queens district attorney of orchestrating a cover-up after the prosecutor announced yesterday he will not file criminal charges against the officer who allegedly hit the judge and assaulted a homeless man.
Brown's statement said that an investigation indicated that the homeless defendant, Charles Menninger, 47, was attempting to strike two police officers with a metal pipe and was appropriately restrained. He also suggested that Raffaele, who happened on the scene while walking through his neighborhood late one night, encroached on police.
But Raffaele said yesterday that the press release is full of falsehoods, and maintained it was the police officer, not Menninger, who was violently "out-of-control."
"The suspect was lying face down on the street, no shirt, with his hand handcuffed behind his back and pinned down by the officer," Raffaele said. "The officer kept smashing his knee into the guy's back and I looked very closely to see if the suspect was struggling or trying to escape. But he was just lying there saying, again and again, 'I beg you, please stop.'"
Brown also said he could not prove that the officer who allegedly hit Raffaele with a karate-like chop to the throat "unjustifiably struck Justice Raffaele and that the judge sustained a physical injury." He indicated that Raffaele had walked into a "safety perimeter that police officers attempted to establish" to contain Menninger and keep him away from the crowd.
The judge, however, said he never came close to interfering with police or encroaching on their space and was simply standing with a crowd when the officer suddenly charged and hit him and others (NYLJ, June 7). Raffaele said he not only did not interfere with police but called 911 to summon additional help and was gently nudging the crowd away from the perimeter.
Raffaele said that as people in the crowd called out to the officer to stop hitting the suspect, the officer "got more and more angry, kept smashing his knee into the guy's back and hollered and cursed the people in the crowd."
Then, Raffaele said, the officer, who has not been publicly identified, "jumped up and ran into the crowd and attacked other people as well as me. It was absolutely criminal and I think a jury would have very little difficulty, if they heard the testimony, determining who was telling the truth and who was lying."
Raffaele said that when he was first interviewed in early June he gave investigators the names of witnesses who would corroborate his story. The judge said he later learned that the witnesses were not interviewed until much later and only after he complained.