Trial of Off-Duty NYPD Officer

Not Guilty Verdict in Trial of Off-Duty NYPD Officer

February 27, 2018

By Jill K. Sanders, Esq.

Angelo MacDonald secured a not guilty verdict on all counts for Pappalardo & Pappalardo client “C.H.” The bench trial concluded on February 26, 2018 before the Hon. Adam Seiden of the Mount Vernon City Court with an acquittal on all criminal charges.

C.H. is a ten-year veteran of the NYPD and a combat veteran of the U.S. Army who continues to serve in the reserves. In June of 2017, C.H. was traveling to the Best Buy store in Mount Vernon when he became involved in a “road rage” incident with the complainant “C.C.” After exiting the Hutchinson River Parkway, the complainant followed C.H. to the Best Buy parking lot. There, the two exchanged words, and video evidence showed the complainant yelling and erratically gesturing at C.H. At some point, C.C. approached C.H. with keys in her hand to use as a weapon, and C.H. reflexively pushed her away in self-defense when she came at him. Then, C.H. chose to leave and drove to another Best Buy store to complete his shopping.

However, C.C. told police a very different story – that C.H. had followed her to the Best Buy and that he aggressively approached her in a threatening manner. She claimed he intentionally tried to burn her with a cigar and grabbed her by her neck and applied pressure, restricting her breathing and circulation. C.C. also claimed that C.H. had picked her up by her neck while throwing her against her car. Based on her statement, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office charged C.H. with Menacing in the Second Degree, Attempted Assault in the Third Degree, two counts of Harassment in the Second Degree, and Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood Circulation.

Through skillful cross-examination by Angelo MacDonald, it became clear that C.C.’s versions of events was not true. Photos taken by the Mount Vernon Police Department shortly after the incident showed no bruises to C.C.’s neck, and she didn’t report any pain until approximately two weeks later after she had learned C.H. was a NYPD officer. A photo taken by the complainant herself even shows C.H. standing in front of her in a non-threatening manner. C.C. further has a history of aggressive behavior – including a conviction for assault – and even called herself a “firecracker” who would fight when confronted rather than run away.

The attorneys of Pappalardo & Pappalardo are very happy with the results. “Our client honorably served our country and the City of New York,” stated Angelo MacDonald. “He should not have had to face these charges given the scant evidence in support of the complainant’s story. However, we’re glad that the end of the day he can now return to his job of keeping the streets of New York City safe.”