Dennis Guariglia, Suffolk village police officer, arraigned on harassment charge
An off-duty Suffolk village police officer accused of showing his badge before shoving a pedestrian to the ground was arraigned Wednesday on a harassment charge stemming from the April incident, Nassau police said.
The officer, Dennis Guariglia, 35, was driving on Veterans Boulevard in Massapequa just before 12:30 a.m. April 5 when he stopped his Jeep Cherokee in front of a pedestrian who was crossing the roadway with at least one other person, according to the Nassau police complaint.
The victim told a detective the driver made a derogatory comment, displayed a police badge and pushed him, the court document said.
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The pedestrian fell, broke his eyeglasses and suffered a bump to the back of his head and elbow scrapes, Nassau police said. He was treated for minor injuries at a hospital, police said.
Guariglia surrendered April 22 and pleaded not guilty Wednesday to second-degree harassment, a violation. He was released on his own recognizance.
An order of protection was issued against him, said Richard Lerner of Carle Place, the attorney representing him for the arraignment, but the judge did not order his gun to be taken away because he is a police officer.
Lerner said Guariglia works for a Suffolk village but was not sure where.
Attempts to reach Guariglia at his Kings Park home were unsuccessful.
News 12 Long Island said he works for Lloyd Harbor Village. Police Chief Charles Flynn and several village trustees did not return calls. Trustees Leland Deane and Matt Strunk did not comment, saying they did not know about the arrest.
Guariglia told investigators he was at the scene on that day and had gotten into an "altercation" with the pedestrian but drove off, thinking the matter was over, Nassau police said.
The village officer said he did not know the pedestrian, Lerner said.
Other details, including what set off the alleged confrontation, were not available Wednesday.