Nassau cop charged with pulling gun in bar

Richard Hefferon, 46, of Farmingdale, a Nassau County Richard Hefferon, 46, of Farmingdale, a Nassau County police officer, was released without bail after pleading not guilty to a reckless endangerment charge. Prosecutors say Hefferon drew his service weapon April 26, 2011, in a Farmingdale bar. He is due back in court July 18. (June 3, 2011) Photo Credit: NCPD

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A Nassau County police officer who prosecutors say drew his service weapon in a Farmingdale bar in April pleaded not guilty Friday to a reckless endangerment charge.

Richard Hefferon, 46, of Farmingdale was arrested Friday morning and released without bail after his arraignment in First District Court in Hempstead. His next appearance is set for July 18.

Prosecutors say Hefferon had finished several drinks while off duty at the South Main Street Pub in the early morning hours of April 26 when he aimed his loaded pistol at the bar worker's head.

The incident was recorded by security cameras in the bar.

His attorney, Willard Miller of Garden City, said through his receptionist that he would have no comment on the case. Neither he nor Hefferon commented as they left court Friday morning.

James Carver, president of the Nassau Police Benevolent Association, did not return calls Friday.

Police referred the case to the Nassau district attorney's office after an internal investigation confirmed misconduct by Hefferon. Hefferon, who was most recently assigned to the Police Oriented Patrolling Unit in the Sixth Precinct, was suspended without pay and his weapons were seized, police said at the time.

"Instead of protecting and serving, however, this defendant chose to place lives at risk, and he will now face the consequences of that choice," said District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

Charlie Ball, the bar employee in the video, could not be reached Friday for reaction to Hefferon's arrest. But he told Newsday in April that he was stunned by what happened.

"I was turning around and filling a glass with soda and I didn't see it," Ball, 53, of Farmingdale, said at the time. "That's when he drew his weapon, pointed it at the back of my head -- and then I turned around and it's pointed at my face. I'm like, 'What are you doing? Put that away.' "

The video shows the off-duty officer holster the gun, then pull it from the holster again, remove the clip and eject a round from the chamber.

He then places the clip, the bullet and the handgun on the bar countertop.

"He pulled the weapon again, took out the ammunition clip and dislodged a bullet, put it all on the bar," Ball said. "I was in total disbelief. . . . Later on, when I saw the tapes, it sunk in. I realized how dangerous it could have been."

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