Justice Thomas Raffaele, a State Supreme Court judge who primarily handles divorce proceedings, is accusing the Queens District Attorney's office of failing to properly investigate his allegation that a cop assaulted him in Jackson Heights in June. You may recall the story: Raffaele was headed home shortly after midnight when he came upon a handcuffed man lying face down on the sidewalk screaming, with two police officers standing over him.
One officer—the one who would soon assault Raffaele—was allegedly dropping his knee onto the man's back repeatedly. Raffaele says he called 911 because an outraged crowd was gathering and he was concerned the situation could spiral into further violence. He was right! Raffaele, who was not arrested, says one of the officers became enraged at the crowd and charged at him, striking him in the throat with a military-style karate chop, sending him to his knees in great pain.
The office of Queens DA Richard Brown launched an investigation, but during a subsequent meeting with Judge Raffaele, he claims they told him "they interviewed a number of police officers and that they said I was acting aggressively, that I was yelling. One of them said my throat was sore because I was yelling — not because I got hit in the throat."
Raffaele says prosecutors only interviewed two witnesses—friends who were with him at the time—after he pressured them. One friend, Muhammad Rashid, 57, tells the Daily News, “I had the clear impression they made up their minds and were not going to do anything. They were suggesting the judge was yelling and that he pushed the police officer, that it was his fault. But it was 100 percent police brutality."
Brown's office says the investigation is still ongoing, but in the meantime the officer who allegedly assaulted Raffaele is still on the job. "For them to treat things this way, I’m really shocked," the judge tells the News. Oh come on, Judge—are we supposed to believe police get away with brutalizing citizens and there's no justice?