You can repeatedly punch a handcuffed man in the face and not do any jail time if you're an NYPD officer, a judge essentially ruled yesterday when he declined to sentence ex-cop John Cicero to jail. Cicero, you may recall, was caught on video last year beating a handcuffed man during a roundup at a Bronx housing project. The incident happened after undercover narcotics cops were hit by bullet fragments fired by a colleague at a pit bull. Cicero admitted to repeatedly slamming Jonathan Baez's head into the ground because Baez reportedly told him it should have been Cicero, not the dog, who should have been shot and killed.
Prosectors had sought a 60-day sentence for Cicero, but even that was too much for Judge Stephen Barrett, who ordered Cicero to build houses for Habitat for Humanity, the Daily News reports. Although he acknowledged that Cicero "did cross the line," Judge Barret ultimately decided "the defendant has lost a lot already. He's lost his position and his pension."
Baez's attorney tells the News, "We dispute any allegation the judge made about this being a lawful arrest. It was brutality." Drug charges against Baez were later dropped, and he's filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the NYPD. Three other cops were suspended after the incident came to light, and the dog's owner, 22-year-old Louis Miranda, says that after the plainclothes cops shot his dog, they beat him, his uncle, and his father while they were handcuffed. Unfortunately for Miranda, there was no video footage of his alleged beating.