A Howard Beach construction worker was sentenced to 18 years in prison last week after a jury convicted him of attacking an off-duty police officer following a traffic dispute in Long Island City, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Joseph Meyer, 26, and several unapprehended individuals, punched and kicked off-duty Police Officer Damien Bartels multiple times in the head in the early hours of Aug. 30, 2009, causing the cop to suffer a shattered nose, two broken eye sockets, a broken jaw and shifted teeth, according to the DA.
The assault came after Bartels was waiting for a traffic light to change in Long Island City, the DA said. When it did, a group of people who were standing outside their vehicles did not move. After the officer hollered for them to get out of the road, words were exchanged and the individuals attacked Bartels, Brown said.
“The crimes for which he was justly convicted are serious ones and, under the circumstances, the lengthy prison sentence imposed is warranted,” Brown said.
A number of Meyer’s family and friends have rallied around the 26-year-old.
“My poor family was torn apart, and my daughter will grow up with no dada,” his wife, Crissyann Meyer, wrote on a Facebook page titled “Free Joseph Meyer.”