NYPD officers arrested in bar assault

February 17, 2008 9:25:15 AM PST
Two off-duty New York City police officers assaulted a man on a bar-lined street and two others attempted a cover-up, prosecutors said Friday.The four, one of whom recently quit the NYPD, were arrested Friday and arraigned in Yonkers City Court, where they pleaded not guilty to charges of assault or official misconduct. If convicted, each could face up to a year in jail.

A fifth defendant, a civilian, was also charged with assault in the Yonkers incident.

Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore said Officers Michael McGhee, 30, and Thomas Wimmer, 25, were off-duty and outside a bar on McLean Avenue, near the Bronx-Yonkers line, at 3:20 a.m. on Sept. 14. They allegedly took part in an attack on another patron, Peter Cummins, after words were exchanged with Cummins' girlfriend. Cummins reportedly lost sight in one eye as a result of the attack. The officers were charged with assault.

McLean Avenue is heavy with Irish-themed bars and is known for occasional violence. In 2006, an off-duty NYPD sergeant shot and killed a man who had stabbed another NYPD officer as a disturbance spilled from Rory Dolan's onto the sidewalk. He was not charged. The September attack occurred outside Fagan's Ale House and Rockin' Robins Bar and Night Club.

"Little good happens on McLean Avenue at 3 a.m.," Yonkers City Judge Michael Martinelli said Friday during the arraignments.

The district attorney said Officers Jeffrey Alicea, 32, and Stella Ibanez, 39, who were on patrol, saw the September incident and detained McGhee but allowed him to leave when they learned he was an officer. They later agreed that if asked, they would say the person they detained was not a policeman, she said. They were charged with official misconduct.

Alicea's lawyer, John Patten, said outside court, "We're surprised to be here today." Ibanez's lawyer, John Pappalardo, said, "They did nothing."

Calls to Howard Tanner, McGhee's lawyer, and Richard Murray, Wimmer's lawyer, were not immediately returned.

Wimmer resigned from the NYPD a few weeks ago. Commissioner Ray Kelly said McGhee, Alicea and Ibanez would be suspended. He said his Internal Affairs department had turned over information to the Westchester district attorney's office.

The civilian defendant was Patrick Tully, 26, of the Bronx. His lawyer, Nicholas Maselli, said only that Tully "denies the attack took place as laid out by the district attorney."

All the defendants were freed without bail pending April court dates.


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