MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island police officer who was caught on video pointing his loaded department-issued weapon at a bartender’s head during an off-duty confrontation will avoid jail time and keep his job.
Nassau County police Officer Richard Hefferon was sentenced Tuesday to 150 hours of community service, continued therapy and a $500 fine. Hefferon also was ordered to surrender all weapons while off-duty after he pleaded guilty in July to third-degree menacing and he must stay away from the victim for two years, prosecutors said.
Hefferon was off-duty at the South Main St. Pub in Farmingdale on April 26, 2011, when he pointed the loaded gun at bartender Charles Ball’s head, authorities said. The entire incident was captured on the bar’s security cameras.
Ball, who was not injured but said he feared for his life, was outraged at the sentence.
“Shameful. That’s what it is,” he said. “I don’t think he belongs on the police department. He’s a menace. He pled guilty to menacing.”
The court was presented with Hefferon’s glowing rehab reports and character references stating the officer has turned his life around while remaining on modified duty. The judge commended the cop for sobering up, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.
The judge called it a “miracle” that Hefferon didn’t hurt anyone.
“That night, he made a mistake. He made a profoundly bad mistake … ,” defense attorney Robert McDonald told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan. “The court and the DA’s office have both realized that the measure of this man is more than just that one mistake.”
2014 will mark Hefferon’s 20th year as a cop, making him eligible to retire with half pay and full benefits.
“And now he’s going to get out with a pension, and we’re all going to pay for this,” Ball said. “If it was anybody else, they’d throw the book at him.”
Nassau County Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lack said Hefferon remains on restricted duty without a weapon, assigned to the Patrol Division. He said discipline by the police department is still pending.
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