Volume 76, Number 11 | August 2 - 8, 2006

Officer said to have started fight; Other guy is arrested

By David Spett

An intoxicated police officer started a fight at the Yuca Bar and Restaurant on Avenue A at Seventh St., said a witness to the event who spoke on condition of anonymity. The incident took place around 10 p.m. on July 26, he said.

The police officer sat at the bar with two other officers, who were also “visibly intoxicated.” None of the officers was in uniform, the eyewitness said.

When the three officers became disorderly and began harassing staff and customers, the bartender asked them to leave, the eyewitness said.

Instead, one of the officers threw a punch at a customer he had been taunting, the eyewitness said, and the customer punched back and beat up the officer.

A second eyewitness, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said he saw the end of the fight. He said plainclothes police officers pulled up in a black van and removed the customer and officer, the latter who was short and Hispanic, from the bar.

The first eyewitness said he believed at least one of the three officers was retired.

The customer involved in the fight was taken away, but not in handcuffs, the second eyewitness said.

The second eyewitness said he reported the incident to the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau. Calls to Internal Affairs were referred to the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information. A D.C.P.I. spokesperson searched his computer and said the office had no record of the incident.

“Police were there, and the man was taken away, so there has to be a record somewhere,” the first eyewitness said. “Maybe they’re just not commenting on it.”

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