2009-04-24 / Top Stories

Charges Dropped Against Rockaway Cop

By Howard Schwach

Police Officer Juan Nunez Police Officer Juan Nunez A Nassau County grand jury has dismissed all charges against a police officer assigned to the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway and three other men, all of whom had been accused of beating a man after he refused to leave the front of a Roosevelt (Long Island) store.

Juan Nunez, one of the precinct's community affairs officers, had been charged in connection with a March 8 fight outside the Midway Delicatessen on Nassau Road.

The case had drawn wide attention in both New York City and national newspapers and television stations because of the racial overtones attendant on the case - four Hispanic men beating a black man.

The grand jury, however, found that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with prosecution of the four men because witness stories were contradictory and also because, a Newsday report said, several of the grand jurors believed the defendants and not the man who was allegedly assaulted.

Sources in Nassau County at the time said the fight may have been started by the black man, identified as Daryl Jackson, 52, of Roosevelt.

Jackson was allegedly hanging out in front of the Freeport bodega owned by the other three men.

One of the defendants, Kevin Vargas, reportedly ordered Jackson, whom eyewitnesses say was harassing customers, to move away from the deli.

Jackson refused, and allegedly punched Vargas in the face. Jose Miguel Vargas, another of the defendants, said that he and the others then intervened.

Nunez was suspended by the New York City Police Department the day after the altercation.

A spokesperson for the NYPD's Deputy Commissioner for Public Information (DCPU) told The Wave on Monday that Nunez "remains on modified assignment pending the findings of an internal investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau."

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