Man dies after allegedly being punched by cop

November 23, 2010 5:31:59 PM PST
Two NYPD officers say they were confronted by a drunk driver with a baseball bat and punched him out of self defense.

"When I sit down to Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, half of my family is gone," Alane Avallone said.

Avallone said she has waited long enough. Her husband, Michael Murphy, died of a factured skull at the hands of two New York City police officers who have yet to be charged with any wrongdoing.

"I think seven and half months is a long time for me to wait, and I still don't know what happened, exactly what happened to my husband that night," Avallone said.

It began with an apparent road rage dispute on the Grand Central Parkway, where the two officers were off-duty and claim their car was struck from behind by Murphy's SUV.

What happened next is not clear, but the two cars ended up on the 75th Road, where the officers claimed they cornered Murphy on suspicion of drunk driving and punched him once when he swung a baseball bat. But, the family's attorney said there was no damage to Murphy's car. He said the officers wielded the bat and the investigators ignored eyewitnesses.

"There were witnesses that we spoken to that went up to the police officers and said they saw who did it. And, the police officers never ended up taking statements from them. We did," said George Stavropoulos, an attorney.

Even if Murphy was driving drunk, his wife said it hardly matters.

"If that is the case, then that was an error of judgment that he would have had to take responsibility for. He did not deserve what happened to him that night, which ultimately cost his death," Avallone said.

The incident happened in April. The two officers were assigned to the 110th Precinct in Queens.

Tuesday night, the department's spokesperson said no charges were filed in this case because the officers did nothing wrong. The DA refused to comment, saying this investigation is not over.