MANHATTAN — An NYPD officer pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault charges after allegedly punching a clubgoer in the face, sending him into a coma, prosecutors said.
Ariel Frias, 27, was arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court Wednesday on third-degree misdemeanor assault charges and released. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of a year in jail.
Frias allegedly cold-cocked Edwin Veloz, 23, in the face during a Jan. 8 fight at Mamajuana Cafe at 247 Dyckman Street in Inwood.
Frias had been at the bar with friend Javier Delarosa, 26, when the pair got into a fight with Veloz, and Frias took a swing, police said. The pair were ejected from the club, and left the scene, police said.
Nine days later, Delarosa surrendered to the 34th Precinct, but Frias remained at large for close to two months before he was arrested by Internal Affairs officers, police said.
Delarosa was also arraigned Wednesday on misdemeanor assault charges, prosecutors said. He remained free on $1,500 bail, court records show.
Frias' lawyers did not immediately respond to calls for comment.
Veloz spent weeks in a coma before regaining consciousness in late January, according to his sister, Lisa Veloz. A portion of his skull, had to be removed because of brain swelling, she said previously.