Two Nassau County police officers and a correction officer were injured Thursday afternoon in a Hempstead courtroom when a defendant accused of witness intimidation assaulted them during his arraignment, Nassau police said.
The officers, who were not identified, were transported to Winthrop-University Hospital and Nassau University Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries, police said. The correction officer suffered a broken hand; one police officer sustained a neck injury and the other a back injury, Nassau police said.
The courtroom was cleared after the noon assault, which follows a Sept. 20 melee in the same courtroom during an unrelated murder arraignment. Six people were arrested and charged with rioting and criminal contempt in that incident.
Maleek McClough, 27, of 48 Harvard St., Hempstead, was charged with three counts of second-degree assault in yesterday's courtroom attack and will be arraigned Friday in First District Court in Hempstead.
"He became highly agitated, combative and violent in the courtroom," Hempstead Village police Lt. Francis McNamee said. "The judge set a high bail, that may have served to agitate him."
McClough was being arraigned at that same court on charges that he harassed the mother and sisters of a Hempstead man whom his brother was convicted of killing, police said. He was charged with intimidating a victim or witness, a felony; third-degree menacing, a misdemeanor; and second-degree harassment, a violation, McNamee said. McClough remained jailed with bail set at $200,000.
Hempstead Village police arrested McClough on Wednesday after the mother and sisters of murder victim Quaivis Ford, 20, told police McClough threatened them. According to a criminal complaint, McClough was at Ford's mother's Hempstead house when she arrived home with her two daughters about 5 p.m. Tuesday.
"The defendant began cursing at them," the complaint said. "The defendant then stated that he didn't have anything on him now but would be back . . . He continued cursing and threatening the complainant placing her in fear of her safety and life."
Earlier that day, McClough's brother, Diquan McClough, 20, of Hempstead was convicted of fatally shooting Ford in front of his home Dec. 8. Diquan McClough, 21, faces 25 years to life in prison after a jury deliberated for less than an hour, finding him guilty of second-degree murder. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 13.