In New York, as well as other states, it's not unusual for public officials, including police officers, to be arrested and convicted of criminal violations. Depending on the severity of the violations, an official or member of the police force may lose his or her position, and in some instances a term of imprisonment may be imposed. When a police officer is arrested on felony charges, it may be particularly challenging for criminal defense counsel to defend the accused.
On Sept. 12, a New York State narcotics investigator was arrested on one or more felony charges after scuffling with an acquaintance over possession of his gun after leaving a bar on the upper West Side. Reports don't indicate why the acquaintance took the defendant's 40-caliber semiautomatic firearm. After he took it, the defendant reportedly tried to take it back, which initiated a struggle. During the struggle, the gun went off, striking two bystanders, a 42-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman.
The man was hit in his right calf and the woman took a bullet or a fragment in her left ankle. These were reportedly not serious injuries but both were treated at a hospital. Both victims are believed to be strangers to the defendant. It is unclear why the two men were fighting over the gun, but police say that the narcotics investigator appeared to be intoxicated.
Some of the offenses against him appear to be felony charges. He was booked for assault, criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest. The weapons charge likely indicates that this was not a New York State government-issued weapon. Criminal defense counsel will attempt to determine the precise details of the circumstances surrounding the incident. Depending on those circumstances, there may be legitimate reasons for his involvement that the defendant can raise in his defense.
Source: The New York Times, "2 Bystanders Injured in Manhattan in Off-Duty Officer's Tussle for Gun", Benjamin Mueller, Sept. 13, 2014