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Man accused in police impersonation

Christopher Gabriele, 27, of Massapequa, has been charged

Christopher Gabriele, 27, of Massapequa, has been charged with second-degree criminal impersonation in connection with an incident in Wantagh on Saturday, police said. (June 30, 2012) Credit: NCPD

A Massapequa man who sued police earlier this year for mocking and threatening him after he allegedly was assaulted by an off-duty cop was arrested on Saturday and accused of impersonating a police officer, Nassau police said.

Christopher Gabriele, 27, of 25 Sussex Ave., was driving on Wantagh Avenue in Wantagh about 5:30 p.m. when he began honking at another vehicle carrying two women, ages 20 and 21, police said.

The women made a hand gesture at Gabriele, who responded by pulling his vehicle alongside theirs and flashing a black wallet with what looked like a police officer's shield and told the women to pull over, police said.

After the women pulled into a gas station at Wantagh Avenue and Old Jerusalem Road, Gabriele walked up to them, flashed the wallet again and told them he was a police officer before returning to his vehicle and leaving, police said.

The women noted his license-plate number and called police, who went to Gabriele's home to question him. He was then arrested.

Gabriele was charged with second-degree criminal impersonation and was released on an appearance ticket, police said. He is scheduled to appear in First District Court in Hempstead on July 9.

Gabriele's attorney, Kenneth Mollins, of Melville, said Gabriele denies the charges. Mollins added that he believed the arrest was part of an ongoing campaign of harassment after Gabriele filed a federal suit against Nassau police in March in connection with an incident in which he said he allegedly was assaulted by an off-duty Nassau police officer as he returned home from work.

The pending suit, filed in the Eastern District, claims that after Gabriele called 911, the responding officers taunted and threatened to arrest him if he filed a report.

"The police are targeting my client," Mollins said.

Reached at home Sunday morning, Gabriele said only: "I don't want to talk it about."

Nassau County police had no comment on the case.

-- With Deon J. Hampton

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