Hempstead fire chief arrested in menacing incident

Hempstead fire chief Michael Charles

March 9, 2010 3:33:13 PM PST
Hempstead's fire chief has been arrested on charges he and two men armed with shotguns stopped and searched a pedestrian on a village street before letting him go. Michael Charles pleaded not guilty to menacing and weapons possession charges at his arraignment on Tuesday. He was released without bail. His attorney did not immediately return a call for comment.

Nassau County Police say Charles and two other men in a fire department SUV stopped a pedestrian on Sunday afternoon. Charles, who allegedly had a handgun, and a passenger with a shotgun exited the vehicle. A third man with a shotgun stayed in the SUV.

Charles allegedly searched the 29-year-old man before releasing him. It was not clear why he was detained.

One passenger also was arrested; the third person is still being sought.