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Long IslandCrime

Off-duty NYPD officer guilty in bar brawl

The former off-duty New York City police officer charged with punching one man in the face during a bar fight in Miller Place last November pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment Friday and must pay a $250 fine.

Darius Blackmon, 23, brought the harassment case to a close Friday by pleading guilty in First District Court in Central Islip to the harassment charge stemming from striking Jerrel Thompson during a Nov. 19 scuffle at Napper Tandy's, a blow that a Suffolk prosecutor said was caught on videotape.

Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Glenn Kurtzrock said Blackmon later used his service weapon to shoot Atiba Watkins of Central Islip in the parking lot of the establishment after Blackmon may have been threatened with a knife.

Watkins underwent extensive surgery, to have one of his kidneys removed and to stabilize his liver. Watkins had filed a notice of claim saying he intends to file a $10-million lawsuit against New York City.

His attorney, James Misiano of Melville, said the outcome of the case "vindicates Mr. Watkins," adding that "Atiba Watkins was not the aggressor and Darius Blackmon acted inappropriately and shot my client in the back."

A grand jury returned an indictment only on the second-degree harassment charge related to the punching of Thompson, despite Watkins' injuries.

District Judge Paul Hensley called the case "a tragedy" as he ordered the $250 fine and a $120 surcharge after Blackmon admitted in court to punching Thompson.

Since the incident, Kurtzrock said, Blackmon, a probationary officer, was placed on restricted duty and, a month later, was involved in a "road rage" altercation with a motorist on Long Island.

But Blackmon was dismissed from the police department after he was indicted on the harassment charge.

"I'm satisfied that he admitted to wrongdoing," Kurtzrock said after the proceeding. "Obviously, this is an angry young man who should not be a police officer."

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