2007-12-21 / Community

Busted, Claims Police Brutality

An Arverne man who has been arraigned on a slew of charges including assault, endangering the welfare of a minor, assault and harassment in connection with a domestic dispute, is charging that police officers from the 100 Precinct came to his home on December 5 and roughed him up during the arrest process.

Joseph O'Connor, who will be 42 on January 6, says that he was having a dispute with his wife, Karen Doerner, about "an old girlfriend."

He says that his wife walked out and went to the police station to report that he had threatened to kill her, or to have somebody else do it, but he denies that he said that to Doerner.

He says that the police came to his home, at 76-18 Aquatic Drive in Arverne, and handcuffed him.

"They threw me in the car so hard, that I have bruises all over my body," he said. "The handcuffs were so tight that I still have marks weeks later."

O'Connor says that the beating caused him to have a seizure and to become unconscious. He contends that the police and EMS workers beat him in the holding cell while he was unconscious.

"I woke up in a hold cell at the precinct," he says. "They took me to St. John's Hospital and then to Queens Central Booking."

Eventually, he wound up in Riker's Island, where he remained until December 13, when his wife and friends made his $2,500 bail.

O'Connor, who admits that he has arrests and convictions for such offenses as robbery and drug possession in the past, says that he has been clean since his last drug arrest in 2006.

"I had a little weed and a little coke," he said. "I made a mistake and paid for it. I don't do that anymore."

He said that he reported the beating to the police department's Internal Affairs Bureau.

Police and court records, however, show a different story.

According to Police Officer Nelson Cruz, Doerner told police that O'Connor had punched her in the face during another fight on November 18, causing several of her teeth to come out. She added that he chocked her as their 11- month-old son watched.

She said that O'Connor told her that he would kill her, or find somebody else to do it, if she ever went to the police to tell them about the assault.

According to court records supplied by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, O'Connor allegedly attacked her once again on November 22, striking her in the face several times.

When she tried to run from O'Connor with her son in her arms, court records allege, he threw them down, causing injury to the baby as well.

On the night of the arrest, court records show, Doerner tried to get away once again with her child in her arms. Those records allege that she tried to run up the stairs, but that O'Connor grabbed her by the legs and pulled her down, Injuring the baby as well as herself.

Doerner then left the house, sources say, and went to the police station, officials say, telling them that she feared for her life and wanted O'Connor arrested.

While NYPD sources declined to comment on what happened during the arrest process because of possible disciplinary hearings that are pending, they did say that the arrest was "appropriate" given the complaint made by Doerner.

O'Connor was arraigned on December 5 in Queens Supreme Court on charges of assault, intimidating a victim or a witness to a crime, five counts of assault in the third degree, aggravated harassment and endangering the welfare of a minor.

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