2008-11-14 / Top Stories

Rockaway Cops: Firefighter Started Bar Fight

By Howard Schwach

Two New York City cops assigned to the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway said last week that the Long Beach firefighter they are accused of beating in a September bar fight in that Nassau County town was intoxicated and completely out of control when the fight began.

The two suspended cops spoke out through their lawyers for the first time since the September 13 incident that left the two under arrest for beating the off-duty firefighter outside a Long Beach bar.

Prosecutors say that the two, officers Jason Ragoo and Douglas Rome, viciously beat firefighter Brian McNamara after the firefighter scolded a group of men who made "inappropriate" remarks to his sister.

The prosecutors say that McNamara and his sister were walking home when the two, joined by a third assailant, kicked, punched and pummeled the firefighter, pursuing him across the street and beating him again.

Rome's attorney, however, told the court that McNamara was the initial assailant, who assaulted the two police officers without provocation.

He argued that the two had the right to defend themselves from the attack.

Rome's account seems to be contradicted by eyewitness accounts, including the report provided by McNamara's sister.

She said that she saw her brother beaten simply for defending her.

According to the first reports, all of the participants were drinking in the Long Beach bar, a regular after-hours hangout, when one of the police officers made a comment to McNamara's sister.

McNamara reportedly took offense to the remark and said something back to the police officers. The argument eventually moved out onto the street, where the physical assault allegedly took place.

Rome, 25 and Ragoo, 26, both of whom have been suspended without pay from the police force pending a decision in the case, are due back in court in Mineola on November 26.

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