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State Court Judge Says NYPD Officer Used Excessive Force Against Him

Thomas Raffaele Claims He Was Struck In Throat After Cop Charged Crowd
Judge Thomas Raffaele (R) claims an NYPD officer (L) used excessive force on him while responding to an incident in Jackson Heights. (credit: CBS 2)

Judge Thomas Raffaele (R) claims an NYPD officer (L) used excessive force on him while responding to an incident in Jackson Heights. (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A judge and a New York City police officer find themselves on opposite sides of the law.  The 69-year old state judge filed a complaint accusing the cop of using excessive force.

“I’ve always respected what the police have done. I’ve seen them risk their lives for people in my neighborhood,” State Court Judge Thomas Raffaele told CBS 2′s Tony Aiello on Wednesday.

Raffaele said his high regard for the NYPD remains the same despite what he said was a shocking encounter with an officer last week in Jackson Heights, Queens at 74th Street and 37th Road.

Raffaele said he saw a crowd watching two officers subdue a suspect on the ground. The judge, dressed in casual clothes, called 911.

“I asked them to have some backup come as quickly as possible.  I was concerned that things might get out of control,” Raffaele said.

Raffaele said when some in the crowd yelled at one officer for kneeing the suspect in the back, the cop suddenly charged into the crowd with his hand extended and allegedly hit the judge in the throat.

“I couldn’t talk in the beginning because my throat was hurting so much,” Raffaele said. “As I was being hit, I moved my head back a little bit.  Otherwise I think I could have been killed at that moment.  I didn’t do anything, I was just at the side of the crowd.”

Over the last several days Internal Affairs investigators have been visiting stores along 74th Street, looking for any surveillance video from that Thursday night incident.

Commissioner Ray Kelly said the judge is making a serious charge.

“The investigation is going forward. We have to assemble the facts and obviously talk to officers at the scene,” Kelly said.

“I think that this particular individual has whatever rage problem,” Raffaele said.

Judge Raffaele said he believes the cop that hit him should be fired. The judge also complained that when he reported the incident to a sergeant at the scene, the sergeant ignored him.

What do you make of the judge’s claim?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below…