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Friday, June 20, 2008

DA: Ocean Beach cop charged in beating will testify

Newsday by SOPHIA CHANG - - June 19, 2008

An Ocean Beach police officer charged in the beating of a New Jersey tourist in the summer of 2005 has agreed to testify against the two other officers indicted in the case, the Suffolk district attorney's office said Thursday as a pretrial hearing in the case began. Officer Paul Carollo will cooperate with the prosecution, said Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla. "It was something that had been in the works and we had been discussing it with his attorney," Biancavilla said. The agreement was reached during the past week, he said. Carollo's lawyer, Dennis Lemke, of Mineola, did not respond to phone calls Thursday evening.

Carollo was one of four officers arrested after a New Jersey marketing executive, Samuel Gilberd, suffered a ruptured bladder after being arrested by village police for littering when he tossed a beer bottle on the ground in August 2005. After Gilberd slammed a door at the police station, investigators said, Police Chief George Hesse beat Gilberd so violently that his bladder tore and his intestines were jostled. Prosecutors said that Hesse, Carollo and Officers Arnold Hardman and William Emburey endangered Gilberd's life by lying to medical personnel and telling them that he was only drunk. Gilberd had to have emergency surgery and was hospitalized for 10 days. Biancavilla declined to comment on the specific details of Carollo's agreement. Carollo was charged with reckless endangerment, officer misconduct, unlawful imprisonment, hindering prosecution and conspiracy.

During the hearing, Hesse's lawyer, William Keahon, of Islandia, and Hardman's lawyer, Steve Worth, of Mineola, challenged the admissibility of their clients' statements to investigators. At issue was whether investigators should have interviewed Hesse and Hardman without defense attorneys. The defendants were accompanied by village attorney Kenneth Gray in September 2005 when they spoke to Det. Thomas Iacapalli. Both defense lawyers questioned Iacapalli on Gray's presence during the interviews. Worth asked Iacapalli if anyone told Hardman that Gray was representing only the village. Iacapalli said he told Hardman he might be facing a felony and Gray then told him to hire a criminal defense lawyer. But questioning continued, Iacapalli said. Hesse faces the most serious charges, including gang assault and first-degree assault, which each carry a maximum sentence of up to 25 years in prison. Hardman was charged with reckless endangerment and falsifying records.

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