Second Degree Menacing and Fourth Degree Criminal Mischief Dismissed on Motion of Prosecution: Client Falsely Accused of Threatening Another with a Firearm and Preventing 911 Call

While our client charged with Third and Second Degree Menacing and Fourth Degree Criminal Mischief cannot get back the months of his life lost to the criminal justice system, what started off as a bogus claim and an arrest of a federal law enforcement officer finally ended with his complete exoneration in a New York City Criminal Court. Although our client can now pursue the back pay he was denied during his suspension, as grateful as he was that the system “worked,” our client unfortunately witnessed firsthand how difficult it is when the system sees you as guilty even if the law is supposed to protect you with the presumption of innocence. Thankfully, after months of back and forth with a prosecutor who did her due diligence and, even if disagreeing, kept an open mind, pushing the case to a trial and rejecting an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal was the final straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back of this unfounded case. A great effort – and even better resolution – for the criminal attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC.

Our client, a federal law enforcement officer, was accused by a subordinate of confronting him in a federal building and threatening him by placing his hand on his holstered firearm. After allegedly yelling at the complainant, who was in his office, the supposed victim asserted that our client advanced closer to him never losing his grip on the weapon. Ultimately, fearing for his life, despite the fact that another law enforcement officer and other colleagues were steps away, the complainant called 911 instead of yelling for help. Not knowing who the alleged victim was calling, our client was accused of hanging up the phone during the first 911 call and doing so a second time as well. Stating that he feared for his life, prayed he would live, and was terrified by the “animal” in his office, the accuser further asserted that he merely put his hands on his desks after our client ripped the phone from his hands and slammed it down on the receiver.

In lieu of going through the entire yarn, it was worth noting that complainant’s story was riddled with holes, not bullets. No, our client’s voice was not heard on the 911 call that went through nor was there any audible slamming of the phone on the recording. You guessed it, the firearm allegedly on our client’s left hip, somehow seen through his suite jacket, was in an awkward place for a documented righty to wear his gun and likely just a bad guess on the complainant’s part (always go right – there are more of them than lefties). You would also be correct if you are bit surprised why the “victim” did not call out for help or why at least two witnesses who heard incident from feet away thought nothing was amiss even if it was loud at times. For that matter, it would not be unreasonable for you to wonder why when, by all accounts, the complainant was told to turn off his computer and leave (a golden opportunity to flee from this allegedly violent predator and a second-line supervisor), the “victim” was insubordinate and stayed in the small office where he feared for his life. The icing on the cake? The law suit filed by the accuser in this matter against the government was not the first time he had filed one against his employer (scratches head then contemplatively places fingers on front of chin in a tapping manner). Merely a few of the contradictory and questionable evidence put forth by the “abused,” our client refused any offer as he did nothing wrong.

The above-referenced evidence is not the complete narrative of what allegedly occurred even if none of it made sense and could easily be debunked. Equally telling, after the police initially refused to arrest our client he nonetheless was charged with Penal Law 120.15, 120.14 and 145.00 months later. As to to this last offense of Criminal Mischief, Penal Law 145.00(4) does not involve the damaging of property one usually encounters with this misdemeanor but instead involves incidents where one prevents another person from calling 911 during an emergency. That said, how and why it is criminal for a law enforcement officer from hanging up on 911, even if he did so knowingly, when a false 911 call is being made, another law enforcement officer is nearby and its reasonable that our client would not want the NYPD to charge into a federal building thinking there was an active shooter or other armed “bad guy,” is quite reasonable.

To learn more about Menacing and Criminal Mischief, review the provided links.

Crotty Saland PC, a New York City area law firm founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors, represents clients in criminal cases as defendants and victims, Title IX proceedings at colleges and universities, Family Court proceedings involving Orders of Protection, Revenge Porn and Extortion victim protection, and other matters throughout NYC and the Hudson Valley.