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The report that a Queens Supreme Court judge may have been beaten by an NYPD officer in Jackson Heights is disturbing.
There are a number of investigations underway following the allegations made by Justice Thomas Raffaele. Nevertheless, the response has not been adequate given the seriousness of the charges brought by the judge.
Raffaele, 69, who presides in the Matrimonial Court in Jamaica, said he was beaten for no reason when he joined a jeering crowd watching police as they attempted to arrest a shirtless man.
The judge said he called 911 when he realized the officers might need backup. That can be easily proved or disproved.
Raffaele said one of the officers, who had been kneeling on the handcuffed man, then struck him and other people in the crowd.
The police, he said, ignored the crowd and even the pleas from a registered nurse who happened to be walking by to stop beating the man.
The judge said, “Psychologically, it was a very traumatic thing to happen. This officer’s rage is so out of control, it is dangerous for him to be in that situation.”
He noted that, during his time as head of Community Board 3, he gained a strong appreciation for the NYPD. He even participated in a civilian patrol in Jackson Heights, where the alleged assault took place.
The incident, which occurred just after midnight June 1, is being investigated by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, the Queens district attorney and the Civilian Complaint Review Board, according to Raffaele.
The wheels in the bureaucracy are turning too slowly.
If what the judge says is true, the officer who attacked him is at best dangerous and should not be carrying a weapon or a shield until this is resolved. If he hit the victim without provocation, he should be treated like any person accused of assault.
What did the other officers do while this was going on? What did they tell Internal Affairs? When will the organizations involved in the investigation report on their findings?
Police must be held to a higher standard. They must use their authority wisely if they want the public’s respect.
We have always been strong in our support for the brave men and women of the NYPD, but officers who break the law should be held accountable.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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