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Sunday, August 30, 2009

 

Man gets 15 years for biting police officer's finger

Man gets 15 years for biting off finger

 
Friday, August 28, 2009
STAR-LEDGER STAFF

A 30-year-old Staten Island man was sentenced yesterday to 15 years in prison for biting off the finger of an Atlantic City police officer and assaulting two other officers attempting to subdue him at a casino nightclub.

Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury sentenced Rafael Pichardo to seven years in prison for the biting incident and another eight years for the two assaults, Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel said.

Pichardo was convicted May 1 on three counts of aggravated assault from the Feb. 11, 2007, altercation at the Casbah nightclub in the Trump Taj Mahal Casino.

During the incident, he bit off nearly half of Officer Dean Dooley's left index finger, which could not be reattached.

The jury also found him guilty of spitting at officer Patrick Yarrow and Lt. Christopher Applegate in addition to resisting arrest, obstruction and terroristic threats.

The officers were summoned to the club around 5 a.m. to subdue an unruly patron. Housel said Pichardo became combative as Dooley and Applegate escorted him from the bar.

Applegate, who spoke on behalf of the other officers who did not attend yesterday's sentencing, said the incident prompted him to retire.

"It is open season on our police officers,'' Applegate said. "There needs to be a deterrent. Respect for officers has gone out the window.''

Before imposing sentence, DeLury told Pichardo he was to blame for his own actions.

"There were plenty of poor choices made that night at

the Casbah, and they were all made by Mr. Pichardo,'' DeLury said.

Pichardo in October attempted to file aggravated assault charges against the officers.

He alleged they attacked him after he made an obscene gesture to them at the nightclub and then beat him after he was taken to the police station.

The claims were dismissed after an investigation by the prosecutor's official corruption unit determined they were unsupported by the facts of the case.


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