MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Nassau County police officer has been charged with pointing his department-issued weapon at a bartender during an off-duty confrontation.
Officer Richard Hefferon, 46, of Farmingdale, was released without bail after surrendering to Nassau County police on Friday morning. He was charged with one count of reckless endangerment.
Police said Hefferon was off-duty at 5:50 a.m. on April 26 when he pointed a loaded weapon at a bartender’s head. Prosecutors say the incident at the South Main St. Pub was captured on a security camera.
“He was an off-duty officer, obviously with too much to drink, pulls his loaded weapon and points it at the back of my head,” bartender Charlie Ball told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan. “I don’t think anyone should get special treatment for that.”
Mona Rivera Speaks With South Main St. Pub Bartender Charlie Ball
“It is a relief to me because for the last month or so I didn’t know what was happening, I didn’t know where this guy was,” Ball told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.
The bartender said he still has nightmares after the incident.
“I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t re-live the video, I keep seeing it in my head, seeing it in my head, again and again, and it could have been a really really bad thing,” he said.
Ball said that he realized his life was in danger, but it wasn’t until he saw the video that he realized how badly the situation could have gone.
“When the incident happened, I was in shock – it wasn’t until afterwards, when I reviewed the tape, and I saw it could have really turned out to be something,” Ball said. “Somebody could have gotten killed.”
No one was hurt in the incident.
“Police officers are expected to uphold high standards of professionalism, both on- and off-duty, and most do,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. “This defendant chose to place lives at risk, and he will now face the consequences of that choice.”
Reckless endangerment is a misdemeanor. Officer Hefferon faces up to one year in prison if convicted.
The 17-year Nassau County veteran was placed on restricted duty after the incident, and his weapons were confiscated.
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