NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The attorney for a suspect charged with allegedly beating an off-duty NYPD sergeant in Queens says his client was drunk and doesn’t remember the altercation.
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, Hayden Holder, 29, was arraigned Monday on attempted murder and assault charges. The judge ordered him held without bail.
Holder faced a courtroom filled with police officers at his arraignment, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported.
Police said Holder attacked Sgt. Mohammed Deen early Sunday outside St. John’s Express restaurant on Liberty Avenue as Deen’s newlywed wife watched helplessly from their car.
Holder punched Deen in the head, and when the officer fell to the ground, Holder repeatedly punched, kicked and slammed Deen’s head onto the pavement, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
The entire incident was captured on cellphone video and later posted to Facebook, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
While people were heard screaming in the background, the video shows no one coming to the aid of the unconscious Deen, Cornell reported.
Witness Deonarin Bangali told CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell that Holder was pummeling Deen, smashing his head onto broken glass on the pavement until the 40-year-old man lay unconscious.
“I can’t believe somebody could stomp somebody, take their feet and stomp on a man who lie like he dead on the floor,” Bangali said. “Nobody tried to help because the guy was so big and huge. Everybody scared to get closer.”
Deen was rushed to Jamaica Hospital. As of late Monday night, he remained in guarded condition in a medically induced coma with bleeding to his brain, authorities said.
He was being treated for multiple facial fractures.
“We’re wondering how he’s going to recover. It’s going to be a long recovery,” Sergeants Benevolent Association spokesman Paul Capotosto said.
Holder’s attorney, Andrew Worgan, said the incident stemmed from an argument between the two at a nearby nightclub, adding that both Holder and Deen were drunk at the time of the incident.
“He remembers walking out of the club, talking to some friends joking around and the he tells me he just doesn’t remember,” Worgan said.
Worgan said Holder broke down when he heard how badly Deen was hurt. He has since been placed on suicide watch.
“It was an act of cowardice, a savage beating of an off-duty New York City police sergeant for no apparent reason for possibly, in the perpetrator’s view, a sign of disrespect for him bumping into him,” said Bob Ganley, vice president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association.
“It really was a vicious beating,” said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. “I talked to the doctors last evening. They were guarded, but had some optimism.”
Holder is due back in court in December. If convicted, he defendant faces up to 25 years in prison.
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