No criminal charges will be filed against an NYPD officer accused of violently striking a New York state Supreme Court justice in the throat in an unprovoked attack earlier this summer, the Queens district attorney said Wednesday.
Judge Thomas Raffaele, who reported the alleged assault, called the DA's decision "shocking" and accused the NYPD officers involved of lying to cover up their misconduct.
"For this to happen, for me to be attacked by a cop -- and for the cops to do this huge cover up -- it's really changing my view of the force," Raffaele told The Huffington Post.
Raffaele said he is strongly considering filing a lawsuit against the police department over the alleged attack. "It may be that there is no other option," he said.
In a statement, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said his office lacked the evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer "intentionally and unjustifiably" struck the judge.
"We find that there is insufficient evidence of criminality to support a charge that the police officer acted with intent to injure," Brown said.
The alleged assault on the judge happened as police officers were restraining a man who was reportedly chasing people with a metal pipe on a Queens street around midnight in early June.
Raffaele said he came upon two officers restraining the man and called 911 to request that more police respond to the scene, where a large group of people was gathering. The officer allegedly repeatedly drove his knee into the detained man's back, the judge said, causing some in the crowd to shout at him.
At that point, Raffaele said the officer flew into a rage, began screaming obscenities and randomly attacked several people in the crowd. He said he was hit in the throat with a military-style open hand chop that sent him to the hospital for the night.
"This was not some little punch or shove," he said. "It was an all-out military blow to my larynx."
Raffaele said that supervisory officers at the scene refused to take his complaint of being assaulted.
In June, the NYPD said that its internal affairs bureau was working with the Queens DA's office to investigate the judge's claims.
That investigation cleared the officers involved in the episode of criminal conduct.
"After an extensive and thorough investigation of the facts and circumstances of the matter -– that included multiple witness interviews and reviews of police reports and medical records -– my office has concluded that the facts do not warrant the filing of criminal charges," Brown said.
The matter will now be referred to the city's Civilian Complaint Review Board and to the NYPD "for any possible violation" of NYPD rules or procedures.
Brown said that his office had "no opinion" as to whether any administrative or procedural violations took place.
Raffaele criticized the DA's investigation as half-hearted and said that witnesses to the incident were not interviewed for nearly two months, and only after he complained about the slow progress of the probe.
He also accused several NYPD officers of lying about the events by saying that he had behaved "aggressively" toward them."I was really amazed that two or three of them lied about it," he said. "It's really damaging to the respect that I've had all my life for the police department."