Ex-girlfriend testifies ex-cop's injured hand led to robbery try
A former Hempstead police officer's onetime girlfriend has testified she was at the center of a string of events involving an alleged injury to his right hand that led the officer to try to rob a cocaine dealer.
Former officer Brian Jones, 40, is on trial in federal court in Central Islip on charges of conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce and using a gun in a crime of violence in the botched holdup.
The former girlfriend, Aurelia Natalie Flores, 26, of Hempstead, testified the past two days that she covered up for Jones when he claimed he injured his right hand at a December 2007 Christmas Eve party, where he fired his service weapon and struck two people.
Flores said Jones insisted she tell police he was defending her aunt against two men who attacked her. In fact, Flores said, Jones and the men were in what amounted to a bar fight.
The two men received minor injuries, but, in addition, Flores testified under questioning by Eastern District prosecutor Lara Treinis Gatz, Jones claimed he had injured his right hand protecting her aunt. Flores testified that afterward she saw that there was nothing wrong with Jones' right hand.
As a result of the incident, Gatz has said in court papers, Jones filed for and was put on paid disability leave.
Two months later, in February 2008, however, Jones was suspended without pay after he wrapped a metal chain around his supposed injured right hand and bashed in two of the windows of the car she was sitting in with another man, Flores testified.
Without pay, Flores said, Jones then plotted to rob a cocaine dealer.
Her former boyfriend "was struggling financially" and tried to locate a drug dealer who had cash and cocaine they could rob, Flores testified Tuesday.
Flores stood by her account despite cross-examination by Jones' attorney, Brian Davis of Garden City, who tried to get her to admit she was testifying to get a lesser prison sentence and to avoid being deported to her native El Salvador.
Gatz Wednesday also showed phone records that indicated Jones had called the Hempstead police department, requesting the home address of the supposed cocaine dealer.