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No Misconduct in Alleged Police Scuffle With Judge, Queens DA Says

By DNAinfo Staff on August 22, 2012 10:06pm

The Queens DA's office declined to pursue a case against cops who allegedly roughed up a Queens judge.
The Queens DA's office declined to pursue a case against cops who allegedly roughed up a Queens judge.
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By Victoria Bekiempis and Paul DeBenedetto, DNAinfo.com Staff

QUEENS — There was no police misconduct during an incident in which a Queens judge and a homeless man say they were roughed up by police, the Queens District Attorney said on Wednesday.

Judge Thomas D. Raffaele, 69, who sits on the Matrimonial Court in Jamaica, claimed he was karate-chopped in the throat by a cop from the 115th Precinct in June, as he called 911 to complain about an incident in Jackson Heights.

Raffaele also said that a sergeant refused to take his complaint at the scene, where cops were arresting Charles Menninger, 47, for allegedly chasing after people with a metal pipe.

District Attorney Richard A. Brown said on Wednesday that there was no evidence of police misconduct.

"After an extensive and thorough investigation of the facts and circumstances of the matter," Brown said in a statement, "my office has concluded that the facts do not warrant the filing of criminal charges."

Menninger's attorney, Kevin O'Donnell, said that around midnight on June 1, Menninger grabbed the metal pipe to defend himself against a group of young boys at the intersection of 74th Street and 37th Road.

Cops saw the pipe and threw Menninger to the ground, leaving him bruised and with a head wound that required staples, O'Donnell said. He was not arrested, according to the lawyer.

O'Donnell said that the District Attorney's findings wouldn't affect Menninger's decision to sue the city for $5 million. 

"I think the D.A.'s press release leaves me with more questions than answers," O'Donnell said on Wednesday. "Most people would get arrested for that and charged with a felony. If that was true, that's exactly what should have happened."

"Police, instead of arresting him, decided to take on the role of the prosecutor, take on the role of the judge, find him guilty, and sentence him to a brutal, inhumane beating," O'Donnell added.

Raffaele is currently on vacation, according to his office's voicemail message, and could not immediately be reached for comment.

The incident has been referred to the NYPD's Civilian Complaint Review Board, Brown said.