State Supreme Court Judge Thomas Raffaele said he was assaulted by a police officer in Jackson Heights early Friday morning.
Raffaele reportedly called 911 to help the officers settle an allegedly rowdy crowd as two officers made a controversial arrest. The man they were arresting near 74th Street and 37th Road was lying on the ground without his shirt on. After the call, one of the officers allegedly charged at Raffaele, 69, and hit him hard in the throat with his hand.
He reportedly went to the emergency room at Elmhurst Hospital Center with his friend Muhammad Rashid, where a doctor told him his throat was not damaged.
Raffaele is a judge in the Jamaica court house. He has held his position since 2009.
Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said the community is concerned.
“I don’t think that it reflects Jackson Heights or police in general,” Dromm said, “but I do have a deep concern of a police officer assaulting a judge.”
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) said in a statement that he is grateful for the work police officers are doing in the 115th Precinct.
“However, these are disturbing allegations of excessive use of force that warrant thorough investigation,” Peralta said. “Under no circumstance can the brutality toward innocent civilians alleged here be tolerated.”
Dromm said he urges internal affairs to quickly investigate the incident, and if necessary, remove the police officer from his position. He said it is unsettling to know that the officer is still working in their community.
“These are very serious charges,” he said. “No one, including a police officer, has a right to assault anyone, but certainly not to assault a supreme court justice.”
The assault leaves politicians, like Peralta, re-evaluating the relationship between law enforcement and citizens.
“It is a breach of the trust and goodwill between the community and police that is essential to effective law enforcement and respectful coexistence,” he said.