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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New York City cops charged in assault on Yonkers man

The Journal News by Nicole Neroulias, Will David and Rob Ryser

YONKERS - Three New York City police officers, a former cop who resigned from the force and a fifth person not connected with police were charged today for their roles in the beating of a 26-year-old Yonkers man who is now blind in one eye.

The arrests capped a five-month investigation into the Sept. 14 assault on McLean Avenue's pub row. For their role in the beating at 3:30 a.m. that morning, officer Michael McGhee and former officer Thomas Wimmer were charged in City Court today with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor.

Both cops were off duty at the time. Wimmer has since resigned. Complicating the assault that morning was a response to the crime scene by fellow New York City police officers from the Bronx.

Two of those officers - Stella Ibanez and Jeffrey Alicea - were charged today with official misconduct, also a misdemeanor, accused of interfering with the investigation before Yonkers police officers could arrive. The fifth suspect, Patrick Tully, was charged with misdemeanor assault. All five suspects were released and scheduled to return to court in April.

The beating outside 942 McLean Ave. - home of the popular Irish pubs Fagan's Ale House and Rockin' Robins Bar and Night Club - brought an investigation by Yonkers detectives and the Public Integrity Unit of the Westchester County District Attorney's Office.

It also resulted in the discipline of six officers assigned to Bronx precincts, who were put on modified duty with their weapons taken away. Details about the beating and about the NYPD response were not immediately available after the suspects surrendered to police and appeared in court.

In addition to the assault charge, McGhee and Wimmer were hit with restraining orders barring them from contacting the victim and witnesses. They are due back in court on April 8. Ibanez and Alicea are scheduled to return to court on April 17.

Wimmer, 25, resigned from the police department a few weeks ago, his attorney said.

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