2 Indicted, Suspended in Connection With Tompkins Square Park Riot
NEW YORK (AP) _ Two policemen accused of repeatedly kicking a man during a riot have been indicted on assault charges, becoming the first officers charged in the August melee in Tompkins Square Park.
The indictments announced Wednesday were based largely on a videotape shot during the Aug. 7 riot by an aspiring filmmaker, said Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. The tape will be presented at their trial.
So far, 120 brutality complaints relating to the melee have been filed with the police Civilian Complaint Review Board. Seven officers face department trials; this group does not include either of the indicted officers.
James Gatto, 26, and John Giglia, 25, were charged with kicking Robert Arihood, who lives near the park on the city’s Lower East Side, Morgenthau said. The assault charge, a misdemeanor, is punishable by up to a year in jail.
Gatto and Giglia pleaded innocent and were released on their own recognizance. The officers, who joined the force in 1985, were suspended without pay.
Their lawyer, Joseph Librie, called the charges ″outrageous″ and said they ″will be vindicated at trial if not before.″
Arihood, a 42-year-old construction worker, was chased, beaten and kicked during the confrontation between police and hundreds of demonstrators protesting a 1 a.m. curfew for the park, the district attorney said.
At least 52 officers and 18 civilians required hospital treatment for injuries suffered in the clash, which focused attention on police crowd- control tactics and led to the grand jury investigation.
Morgenthau said seven more officers would be charged in the riot.