A Massapequa man has filed a federal lawsuit against Nassau County police, saying he was assaulted by an off-duty officer and then mocked and threatened by other cops when he tried to report the alleged attack.
The lawsuit on behalf of Chris Gabriele, 27, was filed in Eastern District Court last week and names his neighbor, Nassau Police Officer William Joie, Nassau County Police Department, Nassau County and John Does 1-5 as defendants. It seeks $5 million in damages and attorney fees.
Nassau police spokesman Deputy Insp. Kenneth Lack declined to comment on the lawsuit because the matter is the focus of an internal investigation. A spokesman for County Executive Edward Mangano's office would not comment Monday, saying the county had not yet been served with the suit. Attempts to contact Joie were unsuccessful. According to the suit, on Feb. 29, Joie "came up from behind" Gabriele and "violently" punched him in the head as Gabriele was exiting his car in the driveway of his home.
When Gabriele pulled out his phone to call 911, Joie mocked Gabriele, stating, "This is my precinct! What do you think they are going to do -- help you?" the suit says. Responding officers, according to the suit, "warmly greeted Officer Joie by his first name and walked away" from Gabriele. The three officers later threatened Gabriele with arrest if he filed a report, the suit says.
"We're going to remember who you are and believe me, you're going to be sorry if you report this," the officers told Gabriele, the suit says.
Gabriele's lawyer, Kenneth Mollins, of Melville, called out the department's actions. "The Nassau County Police Department appears to be involved in a pattern of criminality and then cover up," he said.