Criminal case against Nassau police officer delayed when fellow cop fails to show

An off-duty Nassau County police officer claims she was illegally arrested and mistreated by two fellow members of the force on Black Friday. Videojournalist: Howard Schnapp (Dec. 5, 2013)

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The criminal case against a Nassau police officer charged with resisting arrest and harassment was delayed Thursday, after one of the officers who made the arrest failed to appear in court to testify because of what prosecutors called a "medical emergency."

Charles Volpe, one of two officers who arrested fellow officer Dolores Sharpe last year, was due in First District Court in Hempstead to testify during a pretrial hearing. But Nassau Assistant District Attorney Jared Chester told the judge that Volpe's wife had a medical emergency and he was unable to appear.

"Why isn't he here now? . . . You're acting like you're not responsible for this. We organized this date," Judge Susan Kluewer said to Chester during a bench conference.

Fred Brewington, Sharpe's attorney, told Kluewer: "Judge, I'm at a loss."

The judge replied: "I am, too," before adjourning the hearing until July 10.

Chester apologized and promised the government's witness would appear next month.

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Sharpe, of Jamaica, Queens, pleaded not guilty in January to charges stemming from the Nov. 29 incident in West Hempstead, in which authorities allege she refused to put her hands behind her back and swung a chain at Volpe during a traffic stop. Sharpe, a 19-year veteran of the department who is back at work after serving a 30-day unpaid suspension over the incident, has claimed through her attorney that the arrest was the result of "racial bias."

Sharpe is black; Volpe and the other arresting officer, Victor Gladitz, are white.

A Nassau police spokesman said he couldn't comment because of a continuing internal affairs probe.

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